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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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

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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.

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.

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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

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.

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 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.

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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

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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?

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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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The Babe In The Manger

manger sceneDuring this season of Christmas, it is easy for us to think only of Jesus as the babe in the manger, and not think of him as God the Son who stood beside God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit when the world was formed out of nothing.

In Genesis 1:26 when God said, “Let us … ” he included both Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

During this season of Christmas, it is easy for us to think only of Jesus as the babe in the manger, and not think of him as the Suffering Savior who took the penalty for our sins on his perfect sinless self so we wouldn’t have to pay the debt we owed.

In Psalm 22:1 David spoke of Christ’s suffering on the cross when he said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” These were the very words Jesus spoke as he hung from the cross of Calvary.

During this season of Christmas, it is easy for us to think only of Jesus as the babe in the manger, and not think of him as the Victor who won the battle over hell, sin, Satan, and death. BOOM! Jesus is the Mighty Warrior who will return and establish his kingdom.

In Revelation 21:6 Jesus says he is “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.”

As we look at the babe in the manger, let’s remember he is also the one who was and is and is to come. He is Jesus Christ, Messiah, the King of kings and Lord of lords now and forever. Emanuel. The one who is here with us.

Amen?

In all of the festivities of Christmas, do you ever find it difficult to think of the babe in the manger as Jesus Christ the Savior who died for you?

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Christ is the Word of Life. He was from the beginning. We have heard Him and have seen Him with our own eyes. We have looked at Him and put our hands on Him. Christ Who is Life was shown to us. We saw Him. We tell you and preach about the Life that lasts forever. He was with the Father and He has come down to us. 1 John 1:1-2 (NLV)

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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Pause for Poetry-O Holy Night!

mountain lakeO Holy Night!

John Sullivan Dwight

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friends
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother
And in his name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
With all our hearts we praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

John Sullivan Dwight

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buttons.

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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Joseph Was A Noble Man

Mary, Joseph, and Jesus

At this time of year when we focus our attention on the birth of Jesus, something I’ve found to be true is that Joseph, the noble man who became Christ’s earthly father, doesn’t get much recognition. I find that sad.

The Bible doesn’t give many details about Joseph. We are told he was a righteous man, descended from Abraham and David. He was engaged to be married to Mary. When he learned Mary was pregnant, he decided to break the engagement, which was his right.

According to the religious law at the time, he could have publicly humiliated Mary. He could have even gone so far as to have her stoned for her perceived sin, and the embarrassment her pregnancy caused him.

But Joseph was a noble man. He would have none of that. He would divorce Mary quietly. His silence would cover her without any condemnation. I’m sure he understood hurtful, vicious, mean-spirited words and actions would probably be hurled Mary’s way. He loved her. He refused to add to her pain.

Here’s something I hadn’t thought about until recently. Perhaps it’s something you haven’t considered as well. Joseph was just as chosen by God to raise God’s Son as Mary was. Think about that.

God trusted Joseph. He knew Joseph’s character. God knew Joseph was a noble man who would take care, not only of the woman God chose to birth his Son, but also of his Son.

It takes a lot to raise a child who isn’t yours. When Joseph accepted God’s plan for his life, Joseph proved he was up to the challenge right from the start.

Joseph was a noble man who, from what we can tell, wasn’t upset about fading into the background of the Greatest Story ever told.

How do you view Joseph’s role in Jesus’ story?

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This was how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby by the Holy Spirit. Joseph was a man who always did what was right, but he did not want to disgrace Mary publicly; so he made plans to break the engagement privately. While he was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus—because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:18-21 (GNT)

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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God Desires Relationship

woman looking at the crossThe book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament was written in the years leading up to the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians. Throughout this book, God shows his people he desires relationship with them. Yet, the people refused to humble themselves in the Lord’s sight, get rid of their idols, and worship God alone.

God gave the people plenty of time, plenty of warnings, and plenty of opportunities to turn from their wicked ways, repent, and be restored. But they wouldn’t listen.

The people exchanged the glory of being in God’s presence for worthless idols made by their own hands. They abandoned the Lord and embraced idols. God pointed out to the people they were the ones who turned their backs on him, yet, in times of trouble, he was the one they cried out to.

At one point, God told the people to cry out to the idols they made if they were so great. Let them save you. Which, of course, the idols were impotent to do.
The destruction that fell on Jerusalem was the people’s own doing. God is a just God. Not a capricious god. His prophets warned the people over and over and over. The people’s stubborn hearts refused to listen. Their destruction was because of their own choices.

As the Babylonians tightened the net around Judah, the people asked Jeremiah to pray to his God on their behalf. It’s interesting they didn’t say pray to our God. They stated they would do whatever the Lord said. Jeremiah knew better.

Jeremiah told the people they weren’t being honest. They would do whatever they wanted to do, just like always. They didn’t obey before. They wouldn’t obey now.

Just as God was patient with the Israelites, he is patient with us. God desires relationship. He desires we repent and turn from the things we’ve placed before him. God’s goal is restoration. Us to him. Him to us.

God wants us to come to him as our God. Because of Christ Jesus’ sacrifice we can. Even though our sins are as scarlet, just like those of the Israelite’s, God desires relationship with us.

We may not think we are worshiping any idols like the Israelites did, but is there anything we think about more than we think about God? Do we filter his words through our will instead of God’s, and distort his words to suit ourselves?

If so, it’s possible we might have an idol in our heart that needs removed. Then we can have a new heart that connects us with God’s heart.

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For you were not being honest when you sent me to pray to the Lord your God for you. You said, ‘Just tell us what the Lord our God says, and we will do it!’ And today I have told you exactly what he said, but you will not obey the Lord your God any better now than you have in the past. Jeremiah 42:20-21 (NLT)

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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