Monday, December 22, 2014

What Does the Lord Require?

Micah 6:1-8 - Hear now what the LORD says: 
        "Arise, plead your case before the mountains, 
        And let the hills hear your voice. 
        Hear, O you mountains, the LORD's complaint, 
        And you strong foundations of the earth; 
        For the LORD has a complaint against His people...

        "O My people, what have I done to you? 
        And how have I wearied you? Testify against Me.         
        For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, 
        I redeemed you from the house of bondage; 
        And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 
        O My people, remember now...
        That you may know the righteousness of the LORD." 

        With what shall I come before the LORD, 
        And bow myself before the High God? 
        Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, 
        With calves a year old? 
        Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, 
        Ten thousand rivers of oil? 
        Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, 
        The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 

        He has shown you, O man, what is good; 
        And what does the LORD require of you 
        But to do justly, to love mercy,         
        And to walk humbly with your God? 

Micah 6:8 has been a verse that has cropped up frequently lately for some reason. Maybe it's a message for me. What I do know it is a message for all of us.

The title in the Bible of this section I read was The Obliteration of Nations. Don't we seem to see obliteration of a lot of things these days? Power struggles, evil, threats of terrorism, outright terrorism, protesting and senseless killing. Let's face it, we cannot look around us and say all is well.

In these scriptures Micah is telling the people of Israel to listen to what God is telling him to tell them! The nation or people of Israel then were God's people. This would be like those today who say they belong to God. Egypt, I've mentioned before, is a type of the world, a form of captivity. People who live according to their own idea of how they want to live, apart from God.

So God had a complaint. As was brought up, again, in Sunday school, the Old Testament, where Micah is, is just as important as any book in the New Testament. Don't let anyone tell you only the New Testament is necessary. 1Corinthians 10:11 says: Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

God remains the same today as He was then (Hebrews 13:8). There is no shadow of turning with Him (James 1:17). What He says in the Word He means. He doesn't change His mind because society or culture thinks it should. It's so hard to convince people of that. If He said something is a sin, it is. As our pastor said in church yesterday morning, sin is not a mistake, an accident, slip's a sin.

So anyway, God is asking His people Israel, who have repeatedly turned their backs on Him and sinned against Him, what has He done that they should do this? He might ask us as well, those of us who have received Christ and call ourselves believers yet live as we desire. Didn't He deliver them from captivity...didn't He save us from our sins through the blood of Jesus? Didn't He save Israel to show His righteousness to them...doesn't He do that with us? Doesn't He cloth us in righteousness upon receiving Christ?

And Israel missed it. They adhered to their sacrifices as their religious leaders called them to do frequently. Yet none of all those sacrifices were really what God desired. Same today...He doesn't want what we think are good deeds so that God will be pleased with us. What He wants is what verse 8 says: do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? Then those deeds have meaning because they are done for His glory, not our own.

Some churches today adhere to beliefs or laws that are not biblical. Jesus said He came to not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. All those sacrifices...rolled into One. All He asks is that we follow Him, do what He commands. That's all He asks. I think we can all say we try to do justly and try to be merciful, but it means nothing if we are not walking humbly with God. To me humbly is acknowledging Him daily, submitting to Him over self. Oh, I need to hear this myself.

This verse was the one verse that was beautifully and gently spoken the day I received Christ as Lord and Savior April 18, 1999. I can still hear the pastor's voice! This is what He requires. He wants us. He wants all of each of us. Not that He can be a puppet master and pull strings. No, He wants relationship with us so that He can show us all He has done for us and all He will do for us if we are willing to give of ourselves to Him. You can't have relationship if you don't want to know Him intimately through His Word and devotion to Him. Hold nothing back. We need to ask for Him to reveal any wicked ways, any pride, judgment, name it...that prevents us from being the very person God wants us to be.

Being what He desires is not a bad thing. It's freeing. When we do as He requires life runs more smoothly. If we do not, we run into troubles. We will not be without trouble, but with God we can get through it in His strength. Without Him those struggles will be a burden. With God we have peace. Without Him we flounder.

It takes only a desire to know this great God, be willing to submit to the highest Authority. He desires to use us in a way He has created each of us to be used. He will use our strengths and weaknesses; He has equipped us each with certain talents. When we do as He requires we are successful, to use terms we recognize. Our success comes from His hand. And our success is for His glory because He placed in us what we have. I'm sure it can seem inconceivable doing God's will over our own is the way to go. But it is.

Lord, create in me a clean heart. Show me my faults, my improper desires. Empty me of me that You might fill me to overflowing so I can share what You have for me with others. There's plenty to go around! You must increase that I may decrease. Do this, Lord.

“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ (‭Acts‬ ‭17‬:‭24-28‬)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Times Like These

John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

When tragedy strikes across the world in distant places, in our own country, even in our city, we can feel a sting. But when tragedy strikes close to home it becomes real. A new friend lost her life yesterday in a tragic car a drunk driver. We never, ever know when our last breath will be. We don't want to think about it; we don't want to talk about it. But it real life.

I write constantly about knowing Jesus. I know it can fall on deaf ears. I know not all understand. It is my understanding she loved the Lord, for which I am so thankful. As a follower of Jesus it is our responsibility, at any cost, to share Christ. He alone is the way, truth and life. He is the living God, bread of life, the fountain of living water who removes our endless thirst in this world. He gives us courage, confidence and a certain kind of peace that only comes from Him. Without Him we are lacking...a lot. In Him we lack no good thing.

While in this world there will be sadness that comes with death, that peace of God and even joy can lie deep in our spirits knowing that Jesus' hand reached the one who knew the Savior...or reaches out to those lost in this world that they may know the same Savior intimately. Jesus can be glorified through the death of one if just one more soul is saved through it.

The love of the Lord has no boundaries. It crosses over denominational lines. In the Word you will see that He died for all mankind. He longs for an intimate relationship with all. This relationship with Christ is not something He takes lightly. Jesus would not have otherwise said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭16-17)  "Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ " (‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭7‬)

Lord, I pray that my life would convey the message You so desire; may Your light so shine. May You reach out Your mighty hand even today to those who do not know You. I thank You that Your hand is ever outstretched for those willing to take it. I pray for family, friends and loved ones of this young woman, that Your peace and strength be with them through this very difficult time. 

Psalm 89:13-17 - You have a mighty arm; strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face. Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long, and in Your righteousness they are exalted. For You are the glory of their strength, and in Your favor our horn is exalted.

Monday, December 15, 2014

BEHOLD! The Word

Nothing says it better than the Word of God.

The beginning:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God SAID, “Let there be light"; and there was light.

Then God SAID, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”
Then God SAID, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
Then God SAID, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.
Then God SAID, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;
Then God SAID, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.”
Then God SAID, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so.
Then God SAID, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (‭Genesis‬ ‭1‬)

And God SAID it was all good. God the WORD, which word He spoke and it was accomplished. And He brought forth His Son Jesus, the one and the same WORD. I can't think of the One without going back to the beginning. Jesus, Alpha AND Omega, Beginning AND End because the WORD spoke the Word. Jesus, the light of the world which was rejected then and still is. What a great time to receive Him.

The truth, good news and the promise:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS God. He was in the beginning with God. All things WERE MADE through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was LIFE, and the life was the light of men. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, AND THE WORLD DID NOT KNOW HIM.
[Then] the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭1-4,10,14‬)
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. (‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭10‬)

And the light shines in the darkness, AND THE DARKNESS DID NOT COMPREHEND IT. But as many as RECEIVED Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who BELIEVE in His name: who were born, NOT of blood, NOR of the will of the flesh, NOR of the will of man, BUT OF GOD. ...“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"(‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭5,12-13,29‬)

More good news and conclusion (end):

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (‭2Corinthians‬ ‭5‬:‭17‬)

Behold, [some day soon] He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (‭Revelation‬ ‭1‬:‭7‬)
"Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." (‭Revelation‬ ‭3‬:‭11,20‬)

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” ...And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts." (‭Revelation‬ ‭21‬:‭5-6‬)
Behold, I am coming quickly!... “...behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work." (‭Revelation‬ ‭22‬:‭7,12‬)

We are about to celebrate the Word who became flesh just for us, for our sins. Do not forget who this season is truly about. Santa can't save, government can't save, good works and all our giving can't save, money can't save. But the Word who is Jesus can. Behold! The best gift is the gift of eternal life in and through Jesus Christ.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭14‬)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Lord and My God!

John 20:26-31

And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it in My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."

And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed."

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

What a perfect time of year to believe. A perfect time of year to pay close attention to the words of our Christ's birth. To hear or read the words of life and truth.

There are many who know who Jesus is, who celebrate Christmas, who attend church on Christmas Eve, but who still do not know Him as their Lord and their God. He wants more than just ones knowing who He is. He wants a close relationship with as many as who will look beyond this knowledge, those who will seek Him with all their hearts.

When one comes to Christ, seeks Him in His Word, learns of Him and listens to His words of life, a whole new life awaits him. Not a life free from trouble but blessed in a different way. Way back in the Book of Isaiah the prophet He was named: For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭9‬:‭6‬). You've heard those names before.

We can know this Man. We can know there is life in His name. We do not have to touch His hands or reach into His side. We can believe. We can know that He is Wonderful in all He is, has done and will do. We can know He will be our Counselor...He will give us His Holy Spirit of truth, wisdom and power when we submit to Him. He is the Mighty God; there is no other God besides Him and when we are His, He will be mighty for us in so many ways. Everlasting Father...He will never leave us or forsake us; we will reign with Him in His Kingdom. As Prince of Peace even in dire circumstances we can have the peace that passes all understanding. ...If we just believe.

1Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭6-9‬ - In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

Monday, December 8, 2014

I Will Not Believe

John 20:18-25

Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her. Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you."

When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 

And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." 

Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

I chose to stop here though this part of the story is not finished.

The disciples now have seen Jesus. They've heard Him speak. They have recognized Him and knew all He had said was true. Even the words earlier came to fruition: But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning. (‭John‬ ‭15‬:‭26-27‬) They now were filled with the Holy Spirit to receive wisdom and power.

But here also is the account of Thomas who needed to see to believe. I think this is where many people are, needing to see and not believing by faith. If one looks around His glory is seen. In all of life His glory is seen. Yet we can take life and all we have for granted. We don't always take into account Who started our life, Who has given us all these things.

Many times we need to be put into a situation where we see for ourselves, through tragedy sometimes, the outstretched hand of the Lord wanting to rescue us. It happens spiritually. And we see, spiritually. We recognize Jesus before us and we believe.

I had no idea prior to my born again experience what was about to take place and even when it happened I couldn't fully comprehend what all had transpired. I just know I had met with Jesus in a moment and He changed my life. A desire to know more filled me...and believing all He had said was true. He breathed on me. His Holy Spirit filled me and began the teaching.

I can say, I have seen the Lord. And others might say, Not until I see Him for myself will I believe. Ask Him to show Himself, if you really want to know. If you are not absolutely sure, ask Him.

James 1:5-6 - If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Oh the Questions

John ‭6‬:‭25-40 - And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” ‬

Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” 

Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 

Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” 

All these questions!

When did You come here?
What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?
What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? 
What work will You do? 

Jesus' answer: Do not labor for that which does not satisfy but only believe in Me, the bread of life.

How many times has He approached you and you did not notice? How many times have you thought you needed to be a better person before seeking Him? (Pride) Or how often do you consider all your good works will get you to heaven? (Pride) What sign do you need from Him before you will believe?

The sign He performed was His work done at the cross. All He asks is that we humble ourselves and believe in Him from the very depth of our souls. Yet it's our pride that tends to get in the way.

If He was willing to come down from heaven to us, to die for us, shouldn't we be willing to bow before Him?

Here's another chance to see Him and believe. Read His words above again. They are life. They satisfy. Nothing else will. If you can't believe me, believe Him.

Romans ‭4‬:‭2,4-5 - For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness...‬

Believe, Pride, Works, The Cross, Bread of Life, Humble Yourself

Saturday, December 6, 2014


John 20:10-17

Then the disciples went away to their own homes. But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and she did not know that it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where you have lain Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher).

Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"

I don't know about you but I don't think I would have casually answered two angels if they appeared before me!

Looking in the other Gospels we see variations of the same event. Matthew says Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" came to the tomb. And there was an earthquake, the stone was rolled away by a man in white clothing. He told the women not to fear for Jesus was risen. And Jesus met them and spoke to them as they headed to tell the disciples.

Mark tells us Mary Magdalene was there with Mary, mother of James, and Salome who was also called Mary. When they arrived the stone was rolled away and one man in white sat inside. He also said He was risen. More interaction...He appeared first to Mary Magdalene and clearly all were afraid and said nothing to anyone.

Luke says certain women, followers of Jesus, arrived with the anointing spices at the tomb. The stone was rolled away. There were two men in shining garments. They also said He was risen and reminded them of His words regarding His capture, crucifixion and resurrection. They were afraid. And they remembered. There were four women, the three Marys and Joanna.

How could there have been four versions? My simple definition, the astonishment or fear altered the stories; the ears hearing the accounts heard differently. If there is an accident and various witnesses, are all their stories the same? Imagine the moment. Jesus is dead, buried and now He's gone. The thoughts that would have gone through their minds, apart from the grief they'd been going through.

The stories might not be exactly the same, but the fact that Jesus was risen and once again met with the women and the disciples was the important point. Jesus was risen. He spoke to them. This message is for us too. He IS risen and He still speaks to us. They saw and believed. That belief has carried on for nearly 2,000 years. Their Teacher. Rabboni! He still speaks today through the many different testimonies of people who have met Him.

How do we know that we have NOT been in His presence, or the presence of angels, before? There are scriptures that tell us: ...for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in...  We might question, ‘Lord, when did we do these things for You?' Jesus might answer: Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me. (‭Matthew‬ ‭25‬:‭35,37,40‬)  We may have seen Him but also not known Him. Entertaining strangers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭13‬:‭2‬) And what about the good Samaritan?

So Mary...and others...heard His voice and finally recognized Him. I ask again, how many times might we have heard His voice but did not recognize Him? He calls us in various ways to come to Him. But do we respond like Mary? Even as believers He calls. I believe He can speak or call to us through strangers in various ways, through help or the message of the Gospel. We need to recognize that.

Jesus calls us to know Him, to allow Him to teach us the truth of His Word. These people had sat listening to His Words, wondering at the words He spoke about dying and rising from the dead. It was at this moment that Mary too saw and believed. Not because of what the disciples might have said. In this account it appears He came to her. Maybe it was an instant when she needed to see Him and the incident seemed just for her. He chose to show her all He had said was true. She now knew and believed. There have been times in services when it seemed the words spoken were just for me. Others heard what I did, but those words, at that moment, were just for me. Might this have been the same thing?

Who can say we haven't had our own experiences? What an amazing time to have lived. To have seen Jesus face to face. Yet, it still happens today. Any time is amazing with our Lord. Look and see. We are spiritually blind until we meet Him...and allow Him to be our Teacher. Rabboni!

Matthew‬ ‭13‬:‭15 - For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and
their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

He Saw and Believed

John 20:1-9

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 

Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."

Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.

Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 

The other disciple was John himself. Humble John. He spoke of Jesus, not himself. It was all about the Lord. It will always be all about Jesus.

Earlier in His ministry Jesus had said this: ...“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. (‭John‬ ‭2‬:‭19-21‬)

For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. They had heard Him say these words, but seeing is believing sometimes. The truth of these words were understood at this moment...John saw something and believed. I'm sure Peter did too. If not there had to have been some verbal exchange between them.

We are called to have faith in the things that are unseen. Yet we have all the words of this Bible to show us what we need to believe. Examples. A way to trust in those things we can't see. I've heard testimonies of individuals I personally know where a complete turnaround has taken place in someone's life after they gave their lives to Jesus. After they came to the end of themselves, recognized their sin, and gave it to God. Some change so drastically you'd find it hard to believe they were this old person. Hopefully my testimony has touched someone. When we have humbled ourselves to this extent He will change us. And He will allow our faith to grow. When our faith grows we know we can trust Him for all things.

Up to this point the disciples were still not certain what all these circumstances were all about...Jesus' words to them, His arrest, abuse, crucifixion, death. They'd heard Him speak but not until they saw would they believe. And here, John went in, saw the grave clothes and handkerchief still neatly wrapped...and he saw and believed. Amazing. ...He must rise again from the dead. What else could all this mean? Cloths lying neatly...not disheveled.

We can have that same experience when we come to Christ. We don't get it until the moment we receive Him. Then we see spiritually and believe. As our pastor explained a couple Sunday's ago, no one can understand what we say until it happens to them. It's one of those marvelous mysteries of God. His Holy Spirit power at work in us to give us understanding just by knowing. Have you this testimony? It happens when we give ourselves over to trusting in Him and not ourselves.

For You will light my lamp; the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. ...His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? (‭Psalms‬ ‭18‬:‭28,30-31‬)

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Hem of His Garment

Matthew ‬‭9‬:‭19-22‬ - So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did His disciples. And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

Sometimes God will physically heal, sometimes not. Somehow it doesn't seem fair. I am with the crowd that does not believe those who say healing doesn't occur because one's faith isn't strong enough. We are told if we have faith the size of a mustard seed.... But where does that faith originate? There are mysteries about God and I choose to just believe we cannot know all there is to know about our God unless He reveals it to us. It's trusting in Him and whatever His plan is for whatever the situation is.

This writing is not exactly what I thought it would be!

This woman above had heard of Jesus, probably heard how others had been healed...and she thought that this might be her hope...reaching out to touch the hem of Jesus' garment. She'd been hemorrhaging for twelve years! And to touch the hem of Jesus' garment meant she was at ground level, crawling around the legs of the crowd. She was at her weakest, lowest time in life... I think it's a symbolic message.

Last week I took a friend whose mother, also a friend, is having neurological problems due to illnesses. I had the privilege of taking her daughter, since her car was not working, to be with her mom at a doctor's appointment. The appointment was for treatments to loosen up her arms which are curling tightly to her chest. I tell you this for a reason.

As I sat in the waiting room I recalled a picture at my sister in law's house the day before. It was of this woman who crawled through a crowd to touch the hem of Jesus' garment. She believed with all she had that she would be healed if she did just this. It may have been her last hope. Such faith, as Jesus told her. I suddenly stopped and prayed that these treatments would work...that this friend would be able to stretch her arms, as if symbolically, for her healing. I was also reminded that she IS healed spiritually, praise God.

I've said this often. It's part of the very foundation of life in Christ. There are times we go through difficulties or watch someone else struggle. We cannot control some situations. We have to let it go, as difficult as it can be, and just trust God. He calls us to trust Him always. Trust Him for our illness or others', for circumstances beyond our control, for unsaved friends and family...and be "okay" if we don't see results we long to see. But that in that trust, to know, even if it hurts in this world, when our eternal life is received all tears will be wiped away because there will be no more sorrow. I believe that trusting Him is a great part of faith, and this is what the Lord looks for. Will we continue to walk with Him no matter our circumstance?

With this friend's illness we have to trust God when we don't see answers or solutions. If we are trusting Him there is also some peace about it. Who knows but God what the lessons are to be learned? We always have lessons to be learned.

Reaching out for the hem of His garment might be something He calls us all to do. He called me to reach out to Him in my time of need. I was at a low point. I'd struggled for awhile. Little did I know when I reached out I would be healed spiritually and then came that understanding of who He is, what He can, or will not, do. But that spiritual healing came first.

I thank God my friend herself reached out for Jesus at some time in her life. I thank God her family has done the same. There's comfort in that in the midst of this trial. Again, not all healing is physical, although God is able...but do you still have faith in Him? That's what counts. Is there something where you cannot fathom the outcome? Are you at your wits' end? Do you know Jesus? If not, reach out. He is there. If you do know Him, reach out for His strength, peace and wisdom.mi think we would do well to reach out daily for that hem.

Hebrews 4:16 - Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.