Desperate for Healing

hands lifted upwardThe woman’s story is recorded in Luke 8 and Mark 5. It is a story of a woman with faith who was desperate for healing. It is a story of divine power and love. It is a story of a blessing freely given.

For twelve years the woman bled without relief. For twelve years she visited physicians who took her money but did little to help. For twelve years this woman suffered not only from the physical effects of her condition, but also the societal effects from a people who labeled her unclean.

As someone labeled unclean, the woman was not allowed inside the Temple. She was not supposed to be around anyone without loudly announcing, “Unclean. Unclean.” She was not supposed to be in crowds of people. And she especially was not to touch a male who wasn’t a relative; let alone a Rabbi.

Yet, in her desperation to have her weakened body healed, she risked everything, including her life, to approach Jesus in the crowd.

Ostracized for her condition, she didn’t want to draw attention to herself. She knew Jesus was her only hope. If she could just sneak in and touch the tassel on the hem of his garment, she knew her bleeding would stop. Once she touched Jesus’ garment, her plan was to leave unnoticed.

As soon as the woman’s hand touched Jesus’ cloak, healing the woman desperately sought and believed she had to steal was freely given. When Jesus felt power leave him, he asked who touched him.

In the crowd, lots of people touched Jesus, but only this woman was healed. Jesus could have gone on his way without requesting the woman show herself, but he didn’t. He refused to move until the woman presented herself to him.

We need to remember, Jesus knew who touched him. In fact, he knew since the beginning of time she would. His asking who touched the tassel on the hem of his cloak was for the woman’s benefit, not his.

What the woman hoped to keep private was now made public. Luke says, “In front of everyone.” Her very personal problem/issue/concern was out there for everyone to weigh in on. Plus the fact her failure to announce “unclean” put her in a position to be stoned. All because she was desperate for healing.

Even though all this happened as Jesus was on his way to bring Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter back to life, he would not budge until he spoke to the woman face to face. He would not dismiss her as others in her life had done. He wanted to make sure she understood he saw her and valued her.

This woman had worth in Christ’s eyes. She was not merely a nameless face in the crowd. She mattered greatly to the Son of God. By refusing to move until the woman came before him, Jesus offered her something more than physical healing. Something important. He offered her spiritual healing. By talking to her face to face, Jesus showed he cared for the woman and her concerns.

The woman with the issue of blood was desperate for healing. Healing Jesus gave freely. After the woman fell before Jesus, he told her to go in peace. Her suffering was over.

Oh my goodness gracious. That brings tears to my eyes. After twelve long years of suffering on so many levels, Jesus told this precious woman to go in peace. Her suffering was over.

As the Great Physician, Jesus heals all our hurts. His blessings are freely given when we seek him out, come humbly before him, and acknowledge he alone is able.

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Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done.  And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” Mark 5:33-34 (NLT)

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God With Us Book Review

God With Us 365 Devotions on the Person and Work of Christ complied and edited by Justin S. Holcomb is a book of devotions selected from works of classic Christian writers. These devotions focus on the person and work of Christ. The devotions begin with a scripture followed by a reflection.

The introduction states: This book celebrates that Jesus Christ is God with us and God for us. It explores the abundance, capacity, and immensity of Christ’s tender and powerful love for you. It explores His sovereign rule as Lord and King.

These devotions include works of Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo, Jonathan Edwards, John Calvin, Martin Luther, John Bunyan, and many others. They require more thought than a quick read. I found them best used for reflection rather than application.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry-Chance Has Not Brought This Ill

meadow lake

Today’s Pause for Poetry-Chance Has Not Brought This Ill, is selected from Streams in the Desert.

Chance has not brought this ill to me;

It’s God’s own hand, so let it be,

For He sees what I cannot see.

There is a purpose for each pain,

And He one day will make it plain

That earthly loss is heavenly gain.

Like as a piece of tapestry

Viewed from the back appears to be

Only threads tangled hopelessly;

But in the front a picture fair

Rewards the worker for his care,

Proving his skill and patience rare.

You are the Workman, I the frame.

Lord, for the glory of Your name,

Perfect Your image on the same.

Selected from Streams in the Desert

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy Please sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks.

Gluten-free Quick and Easy Ham and Bean Soup Recipe

ham and bean soupThis flavorful gluten-free quick and easy ham and bean soup recipe, courtesy of our friend Marsha, is full of vegetables and serves eight. You can easily reduce the ingredients to make less if desired.

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 cups celery sliced
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic pressed
  • 2 quarts water
  • 4 cubes vegetable bouillon
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 2-3 medium potatoes cubed
  • 2 cups raw carrot peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 cups cooked ham chopped or ground
  • pepper to taste
  • 3 15 oz cans great northern OR navy beans drained and rinsed

Saute onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil until transparent and fragrant.

Add water, bouillon, potatoes, carrots. Simmer until tender. About 30 minutes.

Add drained beans and chopped ham, heat through.

Enjoy!

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Something New

stream in wildernessFor many, the last couple years may feel as if we are wandering in a wilderness. Or caught in a repetitive, never-ending loop. We may yearn for something new. Something brighter. Something hopeful.

(As I write this, the current college football championship winner has yet to be decided, and I, for one, am ready for something new. But I digress.)

During these past few years, many have experienced painful seasons and trying situations. Some are still in the midst of that pain. Some have just embarked on a painful journey.

We firmly believe God loves us. We hold tightly to his promise to never leave or forsake us. We trust in his Sovereignty and grace.

Still.

When the hard hits and we struggle, it’s sometimes easier to let go of our dreams than it is to push through with the expectation of a brighter day. At times we may find it easier to give in to our circumstances than it is to stand strong through them.

Recently, I read a devotion from Susie Larson’s Prevail. Susie said, when we feel stuck, we must make the distinction between surrendering to our circumstances and surrendering to God in our circumstances. One camps in the valley with no hope for change. The other declares, “This place does not define me. God will make a way where there is no way.”

In Isaiah 43 God says:

  • Remember who created you.
  • See, you have nothing to fear. I, who made you, will take you back. I have chosen you, named you as My own.
  • When you face stormy seas I will be there with you with endurance and calm; you will not be engulfed in raging rivers.
  • If it seems like you’re walking through fire with flames licking at your limbs, keep going; you won’t be burned.
  • Because I, the Eternal One, am your God. I am the Holy One of Israel, and I will save you.
  • So don’t be afraid. I am here.
  • This is what the Eternal One says, the One who does the impossible, the One who makes a path through the sea, a smooth road through tumultuous waters.

Feel like you’re wandering in a wilderness?

Hold on. Watch closely. God is preparing something new. It’s happening even now. You’re about to see it. He is preparing a way through the desert. Waters will flow where there were none before.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there had been none. Isaiah 43:19 (VOICE)

 

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Photo by Janosch Diggelmann on Unsplash

A Heart Adrift Book Review

Heart Adrift book cover

Set in 1755, in the Tidewater Virginia area of York and Williamsburg, A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz tells the story of chocolatier Esmee Shaw and sea captain Henri Lennox, as war with France threatens the colonies.

After being apart for ten years, Esmee and Henri are reunited. Though still interested in each other, they are weary. When the Governor of Virginia asks Henri to go on a dangerous mission for the colonial government, their future together becomes uncertain.

Laura Frantz is a master at filling her books with likeable characters, and providing enough historical detail to make the story interesting without boring the reader with too many details. She layers intrigue with unexpected twists and turns to keep the reader turning the page.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Heart Adrift. If you enjoy Christian historical romance at it’s finest, then perhaps this is a book for you as well.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Stay In Our Lane

motorcycle on road

Stay in our lane. Stick with what we know. Mind our own business.

It seems I hear stay in your lane said a lot nowadays. When said, more times than not, it is a reprimand. But as Christ followers, we’re actually told to stay in our lane close to God, are we not?

One place where we need to especially stay in our lane is when it comes to temptation. We need to stick close to Jesus. When we do, the lure to step outside God’s boundaries, God’s set lane, and get into things we don’t have any business getting into isn’t as strong.

When we go outside our lane, we risk the chance of defeat. When we stay within the boundaries of God’s love, victory is achievable. When we place our hand in Christ’s, he is able to help us stay in our lane where God’s love can reach and strengthen us. He can help us resist weaving into the various lanes of temptation.

When we tell Jesus the struggles and temptations we face, he is able to help our faith grow through prayer, reading the Bible, and bringing strong Christian friends alongside to walk with us. The more time we spend with Jesus, the greater the desire to stay in our lane with him grows. Our desire to drift into a lane we don’t belong in weakens.

We’re too weak to stay in our lane on our own. We’re apt to weave from one lane of temptation to another. But when we allow Jesus to correct the steering wheel the instant we begin to drift, it’s possible to stay put, stick with what we know, and mind our own business. The business of advancing the Kingdom of God.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

 Stay always within the boundaries where God’s love can reach and bless you. Wait patiently for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you. Jude 21 (TLB)

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Photo courtesy of yamabon / 163 images.

As We Close Out 2021

2022As we close out 2021, I’d like for us to look back a few centuries to the year 445 B.C. The place is Jerusalem. For the past one hundred years, returning Israelite exiles have been in Judah. During that time, people built homes. They planted crops. They rebuilt the Temple.

Finally, under the direction of Nehemiah, and despite constant opposition, the walls around the city of Jerusalem were rebuilt.

All the people assembled with one common purpose. They asked Ezra the priestly scribe to read The Book of the Law of Moses. While Ezra read from early morning to noon, the people stood and listened closely.

The next day the people assembled again. They stood for three hours while the Book of the Law of the Lord was read. Then they stood an additional three hours and confessed their sins and worshiped the LORD their God.

During this time, the people remembered their collective history. They recounted how the LORD who is a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love never abandoned his people. Even when his people abandoned him.

After the people remembered, they repented. They acknowledged their sins. They admitted that every time God punished his people, he was being just and gave them what they deserved. Which included being sent into Babylonian captivity.

The people rededicated themselves to obeying the Law of the LORD. They recommitted themselves to following the Word of God, and the LORD restored.

But restoration must bring transformation. If it doesn’t, there will be no real change. We’ll be back in the same spot we started in. Unless a heart-change is made, we will continue in the ways which separate us from God’s holiness.

That’s what happened to the Israelites, and that’s what can happen to us if our repentance, rededication, and recommitment do not also contain a transformed heart.

As we close out 2021, let us review God’s Word. Let us remember and recount how God led and carried us through 2021. With repentance, let us rededicate and recommit our lives to following the path God sets before us with a transformed heart to do his will.

I pray God blesses each of you richly in every area of your life as you put him first, and strive to do his will in the upcoming year. Thank you so much for reading what I write each week, and for letting me know how it touches your life. I appreciate you all more than you possibly could imagine.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

These men signed on behalf of the entire nation—for the common people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the choir members, the Temple servants, and all the rest who, with their wives and sons and daughters who were old enough to understand, had separated themselves from the heathen people of the land in order to serve God.  For we all heartily agreed to this oath and vowed to accept the curse of God unless we obeyed God’s laws as issued by his servant Moses. Nehemiah 10:28-29 (TLB)

You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Bible Recap Study Guide and Journal Review

Bible Recap study guide coverBible Recap Journal and Bible Recap Study Guide by Tara-Leigh Cobble compliment the Bible Recap One-year Guide to the Entire Bible. If you missed my review of Bible Recap, you can find it here.

First off, let me tell you about the Bible Recap Journal. If you have been going through the Bible Recap one-year guide to the Bible, you probably already have a system for taking your notes. This journal will add little to your study. Each day’s reading has one 6X8 inch page with a small space for you to write down three things. Things I loved, things I learned, and things I noticed. There is space for questions/things I want to research, and your God Shot, which is where you saw God show up in your reading that day.

Now for the Bible Recap Study Guide. This study guide goes deeper than the journal. There are 4-7 questions specific to each reading. They are intended to draw you deeper in your study and reflection on what you read. Again, there is a small amount of space to write your responses. The hope of this study guide is that you will have one place to keep your thoughts for a comprehensive overview of the Bible’s larger story and how God’s character is revealed throughout Scripture.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

It’s Almost Christmas

Christmas decorated streetIt’s almost Christmas. Only two more days to go. In nine more days we enter into a new year. How did it get to be the end of 2021 so soon? I’m still trying to figure out what happened to 2020.

With those thoughts in mind, I would like to give you a few quotes to remind us why we celebrate the birth of our Savior, in the hope we remember the reason for the holiday every day throughout 2022.

“Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom

“Christmas is that moment in time when God, in His unconditional love, stepped out of heaven onto earth, in order that we might one day step out of earth into heaven.” ~ Charles F. Stanley

“The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.” ~ C.S. Lewis

“How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, his precepts! O! ’tis easier to keep holidays than commandments.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!” ~ John F. MacArthur, Jr.

“The very purpose of Christ’s coming into the world was that he might offer up his life as a sacrifice for the sins of men. He came to die. This is the heart of Christmas.” ~ Rev. Billy Graham

“The Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the Incarnation.” ~ J.I. Packer

Which of these quotes is your favorite?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. John 1:10-14 (NLT)

You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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