Luke 8:47 – The Hem of His Garment

Luke 8:47 – The Hem of His Garment

I greatly admire her fortitude, fearlessness and faith. Fortitude helped her withstand twelve long years without healing. Fearlessness compelled her to go to a place where she was not supposed to be. Faith thoroughly convinced her that touching Him would bring healing.

*This post originally appeared on Devotableapp.com on May 9th, 2019

She came up behind him and touched the hem of his clothes, and at once her bleeding stopped. Luke 8:47 CEB

The Bleeding Woman

I love reading about miracles Jesus performed during His ministry on Earth. In the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, in between the accounts of Him freeing a demon-possessed man and raising a twelve-year-old girl back to life, we can find the story of Him healing a woman with an “issue of blood.”  And wow, what an issue it was! She endured twelve years of physical pain, being ostracized, and unsuccessfully seeking healing from countless doctors.

Hopeless, helpless and hurting.

I have tried to imagine what my mindset and emotional state would be after a dozen straight years of suffering physically, being rejected socially, and receiving no relief from numerous doctors as they bled my bank account dry. I do not think I would have the strength that she showed when she sought healing from Jesus by pressing into a crowd of people who had likely been unkind and uncaring toward her.

I greatly admire her fortitude, fearlessness and faith. Fortitude helped her withstand twelve long years without healing. Fearlessness compelled her to go to a place where she was not supposed to be. Faith thoroughly convinced her that touching Him would bring healing.

All three of the Gospel accounts record the facts that she touched the hem of His garment, she was instantly healed, and that Jesus told her that her faith had made her well. 

Why Did Jesus Ask, “Who Touched Me?”

Two of the three Gospels include another intriguing detail: When Jesus felt power leave His body, He asked, “Who touched me?”  Of course, He knew who touched Him; He knew everything! Why did He ask that question aloud and await a verbal response? 

Jesus could have continued on His journey, and He and the woman could have kept a special secret between them. He had places to go and people to heal. However, He took the time to ask the question. 

When she responded, the crowd witnessed the fact that Jesus desired to bring wholeness to a desperate woman. They saw that she mattered to Him. Her importance to Jesus superseded His schedule and social norms. 

You Matter to Jesus

You matter to Jesus too. Has anyone told you that lately? 

Regardless of what you are going through, you matter to Jesus. Regardless of which road to restoration you are currently traveling, you matter to Jesus. Regardless of how friends and society treat you, you matter to Jesus. 

You have a Healer who loves you. 

A Great Physician who wants you to be whole. 

You matter.

Muster up your fortitude, fearlessness, and faith. Reach out and touch Him today. 

Prayer – Thank You, Jesus, for who You are. Thank You for loving us and for Your desire to bring healing and make us whole. Help us have the faith it takes to reach out to You. Amen.

 

 

Masterpiece in the Making

Masterpiece in the Making

When I rest my head on my pillow at night, it is fairly common for me to categorize the previous twenty-four hours as successful or unsuccessful. 

When I consider the day to be unsuccessful,  often it is because I reacted poorly to someone or I left a loving deed undone.

For years, a judgmental voice beat me up over my failures after a rough day. Thankfully, it has recently become more common for that voice to be silenced by a gentle whisper, which soothingly says, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” 

Friends, you are a work in progress and so am I. It is reassuring to remember that God is not finished with me yet, especially when I have been a below-average follower of the Golden Rule.

In Ephesians 2:10, (NLT) we are called God’s masterpiece. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

We can leave the weight of our sins in the past when we choose to move forward with God as we allow Him to do His work in us. We can be confident that He considers each of us to be masterpieces even while we are in the “work-in-progress” process.

The work-in-progress message of Philippians 1:6 is one for us to embrace as we strive to live faith-filled, Christlike lives. But let us be cautious not to allow the fact that God is not finished with us yet to be an excuse to knowingly fall short of striving to be who Jesus has called us to be. 

In between beating ourselves up for our sins and sweeping every offense under a blanket of “Nobody is perfect” grace, there is a line. It is an important line where Christ shows us how to display His character in every situation. A line where we endeavor to stand against the excuses that the world gives us and lean on the promise that God gives us instead: We are a work in progress…a masterpiece in the making!

At the end of those rough days that are undoubtedly going to happen, listen to the whisper that says, “He who began a good work in you…considers you to be His masterpiece!”

Your Nail-Scarred Hands

Your Nail-Scarred Hands

Lord, open our eyes to see the countless blessings You graciously and generously extend to us. As we reach out to Your nail-scarred hands in acceptance of Your blessings, show us how to live in gratitude for the unmatched sacrifice those scars represent.
May we be tuned in to the ways Your boundless love is on display. May we be compelled to love others the way You do. And as You help us live a life of love and gratitude, may others be eternally impacted for You. Amen.

3 Ways to Let Our Little Light Shine

3 Ways to Let Our Little Light Shine

Psalm 147:4 (CEB)“God counts the stars by number, giving each one a name.”

When we gaze into the heavens on a clear night, we see a sky full of glimmering, light-giving stars created by God. In Psalm 147, it says He knows precisely how many stars there are and that He has given each one a name. The attention He has paid to the stars reminds us as His prized possession, how valued and precious we are to Him.

Just as God has perfectly designed the stars to light up a darkened sky, He has given each of us the responsibility to shine His life-giving light in the darkness. Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

A catchy song that has been around for many years prompts us to let our little light shine. Within the lyrics of that traditional, well-loved melody are three lessons that we can learn from stars about shining our light.

  1. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” Take responsibility for your God-given task. 

Stars do not have to be continuously told how much, where, or when to shine because shining is what stars naturally do. Likewise, in Matthew 5:14-16, we are told that we are the light of the world and to shine before people, “so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.” For example, loving those who are labeled as unlovable, forgiving the unforgivable, and radiating Christlike joy even in the middle of tragic life experiences are ways to reflect the radiance of our Heavenly Father and show this world how amazing He is. When our love for God compels us to love others the way He wants us to, this world gets the opportunity to see Him in us and be changed by Him.

  1. “Hide it under a bushel, no, I’m gonna let it shine!” Shine whether we are in the forefront or the background.

Stars do not stop shining if the surrounding stars emit a brighter light. They continue to shine from wherever their position is in the heavens. When we compare what we perceive as our light’s impact to someone else’s impact and become discouraged, we hinder God’s plan. He is a Master Designer, and His design includes us using the unique gifts He granted us to bring Him glory. Comparing our shine to others is a waste of time since God purposely bestowed different personalities and talents upon each one of us. He created all of us differently so that when we are shining our unique light, the result displays His brilliance. 

  1. “Don’t let Satan blow it out. I’m gonna let it shine!” Shine even when others ignore, reject, or complain about the light.

How brightly stars shine is not dependent on the reaction of people who view them. If the light they radiate is not noticed or appreciated, stars keep right on shining. Speaking from experience, being unnoticed or unappreciated can produce an, “I give up. What is the use of even trying?” attitude. To continue trying to live a Christ-filled life when it seems like we are having no impact or even a negative impact on others can be difficult. But when we are focused on the reaction of people rather than the reward of an obedient life, we are missing what truly matters. We might even decide to allow our light to be blown out and therefore give Satan the satisfaction of succeeding in his mission. However, if we shift our focus back to God’s opinion of us rather than the world’s and pray for inspiration to continue shining, I believe we will stay motivated to let our light keep right on shining. 

The next time we look into the heavens and marvel at the twinkling stars that God created, may we allow them to inspire us to persevere in letting our little light shine. “Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!”

Intricately Woven Together; Immeasurably Loved

Intricately Woven Together; Immeasurably Loved

It doesn’t matter what people say about you. Why? Because you are intricately woven together and immeasurably loved by Your Heavenly Father. You are chosen, redeemed, forgiven, set free, and a friend of Jesus. All are words straight from our God-inspired Bible, and therefore straight from the heart of God!

Fighting against hurtful words can wear us down. Possibly it is easier to accept or even believe the insults than to expend energy trying to convince others that they are wrong about us. Sometimes the cutting remarks end up being adopted as part of our own inner dialogue.

Here is a song, Daughter of the King, that I wrote years ago. It is about this very issue…believing what others say about us rather than what God says about us.

Again, it does not matter what others say about us –  we are His masterpiece! (Ephesians 2:10)

Friends, let’s remember these truths as we make comments about others. Should what people say matter to others? No, because of the same reasons as stated above. But, let’s not allow our words to be a reason that someone questions their worth. Let’s not be a reason that seeds of doubt about their value as a person get planted in someone’s mind that we have carelessly made a remark about. The person that is getting dragged down by our critical words is loved the same as us! We are all loved by Jesus with a love beyond our comprehension.

Let’s think, or better yet, pray, before we allow others’ words to impact us or drown out what God says about us. AND let’s think, or better yet, pray, before we say anything (or post anything) that could cause someone to question their true identity in Christ. Let our prayer be for God to help us to see ourselves AND others the way He does!

 

 

1 Timothy 2:4 – The Attributes of God “Even More”

1 Timothy 2:4 – The Attributes of God “Even More”

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1John 4:16 NIV

GOD IS LOVE

One of the first lessons we want to instill in our children or convey to anyone we have an opportunity to influence is that God loves them. We might say things such as, “God is love,” or “God loves you no matter what.”

Yes, God is loving. In fact, He is the epitome of love. Being the Originator of the concept of love naturally causes Him to be the most amazing example of it. However, as we get to know Him, we find out more about the attributes of God that combine to make Him who He is. There is even more to Him than love! For example, how often do we attempt to learn more about His forgiveness, holiness, tenderness, humility, jealousy, and mercy? He is a multi-faceted God who possesses traits that are essential to include when trying to describe Him accurately and authentically.

HE IS MORE THAN JUST LOVE

Imagine you were asked to describe the attributes of God, and your portrayal of Him was about to forever become the basis for someone’s understanding of who He is. Would you feel pressure to tell them more than the basics of how deeply He loves us? Not that it is insignificant information, by any means! Clearly, it is crucial to incorporate how incredible His love is into an illustration of God. Without His love, there is no gospel; there is no cross, no resurrection, and no promise of eternal life with Him. But there is even more than love, and sometimes those other supernatural qualities get overlooked. 

There is a forgiveness that removes our sin from us forever and ever. There is a holiness that makes Him so far above us that we should be in eternal awe of Him. There is a tenderness that causes Him to earnestly pursue a relationship with each and every one of us. There is a humility that drove Him to offer His Son as a sacrifice to take the place of a sinful world. There is a holy jealousy that calls us to devote our lives to only Him, and a mercy that is new every morning when we fail to put Him first.

In no way is that an exhaustive list of the attributes of God, but starting that list helps us discover how “even more” He is! Read the last two paragraphs here:    devotableapp.com

Unprayed Answers

Unprayed Answers

Whenever I am seated at the piano on Sunday mornings leading our congregation in song along with our church praise team, I consider it to be one of the sweetest blessings in my life. In addition to me, the team presently includes three vocalists, a bass guitarist, an occasional drummer, and an acoustic guitar player. 

In the early 2000s, as I sat on a padded metal chair in a conference room filled with hundreds of other women at a Christian event, a husband and wife duo performed several moving songs. She sang and he played guitar. Listening to them share their love of Jesus and music in such a special way made an impact on me. For a few months after the conference, my mind revisited how touching it was that they had the opportunity to participate in a music ministry together as husband and wife. However, as time went on, the memory of that duo disappeared from my mind.

A few years later, on a whim, my husband and I both attempted to teach ourselves how to play guitar. He learned much more easily and quickly than I did, and my ego took a hit, so I quit. I never tried learning guitar again, and I might just be a little bitter about my husband having such a seemingly easy time mastering a new instrument, especially since I am the one with a music degree and background. (By the way, if you were expecting a post about perseverance when the going gets tough, this is not it.) 😉

More than a decade later on a Sunday morning in 2017, as I sat in front of the sanctuary leading a worship song with the praise team, the memory of that husband and wife duo unexpectedly reappeared in my mind. I immediately began to tear up. I confess that I frequently tear up during the music portion of our church service because when the song lyrics proclaim the greatness of God’s love and faithfulness, my gratitude causes an emotional response. But this particular time, my tears were due to the fact that I had overlooked for several years. You see, I love Jesus with all my heart and I thoroughly love to sing, so I am definitely thankful that I sing on a church praise team. But on that particular morning, I was struck by the added detail that my husband is part of that praise team with me, playing the aforementioned acoustic guitar. I am sure that a combination of factors was involved in God inspiring Darren to learn how to play guitar and join the praise team. I can’t help but think that I know what one of them was: God wanted to accomplish something in my marriage which I had deemed impossible. 

It is amazing that we serve a God who sometimes honors dreams that are shoved down deep into our hearts or almost entirely dismissed. Dreams we don’t even bother to transform into prayer, because we have already decided they are out of the realm of reality.

The idea of sharing in a music ministry together as a couple never became more than an intriguing thought. Not a wish. Not a prayer. In fact, it had been forgotten. But even so, God orchestrated that forgotten idea in our lives years later, and it is an incredible, straight-from-God gift. Because of His great love, God answers prayers we never even consider praying.