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!”

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.

Click here to hear a song I wrote, Daughter of the King… 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

Remembrance and Restoration

Remembrance and Restoration

The physical pain, the emotional pain, the “letting people know,” the condolences, the what-ifs, the fake smile I put on to match my fake Christmas spirit, and the feeling of being crushed. If you were to ask me what I remember from a few days before Christmas in 1992, these are the vivid recollections I would list for you. 

I also remember finding a sorrowful sense of irony in losing a baby to miscarriage just days before the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

My mind had the following phrases on repeat: God could have prevented it from happening and God could have performed a miracle once it happened.

The question of “God, where were You?” evolved into, “God, why would You…” and then, “God, how dare You…” (and there’s still a part of me that wonders how I was not zapped or struck by lightning immediately after uttering those words to Him…) 

As I wrote in a post a few years ago, My First Pregnancy, My Faithful God, and My Firm Stand“He knew my husband and I were ecstatic about being parents. How dare He take this baby away? Yep, I said those words to the Creator of the Universe. I looked upward, right up to the sky and screamed, “How dare you!” Looking back on that moment and the bitterness I harbored for quite some time afterward, I sometimes think, “Wow, God, it takes a lot of nerve for an almost 22 year-old woman to challenge Your sovereignty. Thank You from the bottom of my heart for being patient with me and lovingly waiting for me to realize there was no one to blame.” I wasted a lot of time being mad at God when I could’ve spent that time being comforted and held by Him instead.”

I am unable to give an eloquent explanation of why it occurred, and equally unable attempt to inspire others with a “Therefore, this is why terribly sad events sometimes happen…” speech wrapped up in some sort of Christmas-time revelation gift with a bow on top. Oh, how I wish I could say that I remember that I allowed God to fill my emptiness to overflowing with His comfort and love. But instead, I remember resting in rage and resentment and not allowing God to console me with His relief and restoration.

I clearly remember a list of painful moments stemming from a miscarriage during the Christmas season years ago, but in Lamentations 3:21, there is mention of “remembering something that fills me with hope.” What is that something? As verse 22 and 23 say, “The LORD’s kindness never fails! If he had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed. The LORD can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.” That something is an unrivaled kindness and mercy that He lovingly pours out upon us. Years have passed, and although there is a comfort and excitement in knowing I will meet that baby in Heaven, I still wish there had been a different outcome – namely one in which I am a mother to 5 thriving children, instead of 4. I believe we can still be Jesus-loving, God-trusting people even if we sometimes wish a couple of parts of our life stories had been written differently. But dwelling on those thoughts instead of asking God to increase our trust in Him causes us to hang on to hurt instead of having the beautiful experience of being healed by Him. His unmatched kindness and mercy will ultimately overshadow painful memories every time.

I eventually made a choice to focus on remembering God’s kindness and mercy instead of loss, and as a result, gained an incomparable hope of a future filled with promise.

ISAIAH 55:11 – GOD’S WORD WILL NOT RETURN VOID

ISAIAH 55:11 – GOD’S WORD WILL NOT RETURN VOID

so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

GOD’S WORD IS A GIFT

I would like for you to imagine telling someone there is a gift waiting for them with their name on it. Imagine telling them this particular gift will renew their perspective, remind them of their priorities, and reveal their purpose. Now, imagine if that person said, “Wow, that gift sounds awesome! How wonderful to have access to that!”…and then they proceed to ignore it? They decide to leave it unopened. Would you be outraged? Shocked? Puzzled, at the very least?

If that gift was offered to you, would you ignore it and allow it to remain wrapped? No way!

But we all do it! We leave one of our most beautiful treasures unopened. Friends, we’ve been given a gift beyond words: a love letter from the Originator of Love. A Holy Book filled with love, lessons, and life. Literally!

Read the rest at Devotableapp.com.

(This is my most recent contribution to Devotableapp.com – I invite you to go to that website and subscribe to the daily emails. You will get an encouraging devotional in your inbox each morning!)                                                                                                                   

 

So Much More

So Much More

During a recent Sunday School class, we were discussing the nature of God and our identity in relation to Him. A remark that the teacher (who happens to be my husband) made, stuck with me. He said, “God isn’t just a better version of the best version of us.” How true that is.  God is so much more.

Are you ever tempted to humanize God in order to make Him easier to understand? I have been guilty of trying to reduce Him to a human level as I tried to comprehend His ways. However, that is a mistake for a few different reasons. 

1. As a society, we have gradually minimized the very essence of God. We continue to lose the wonder of a wonderful God and the awe of an awesome God. He is beyond compare and beyond description. True wisdom begins once we comprehend that His awe will never be comprehended!  Proverbs 9:10a says, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” Realizing the awe He is worthy of opens our hearts to receive His wisdom, and He gives it eagerly.  James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” 

2. We expect God to think the same way we think. We assume He will solve problems using the same reasoning we do. However, Jeremiah 55:9 says that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  He sees the past, present, and future of a universe full of people He loves. He is working all things for good for those who love Him, according to Romans 8:28. There are countless moving pieces on this planet, and somehow He keeps perfect track of every single one of them.  All while drawing each of us to Himself. The circumstances of this world are interwoven in a way that only a perfect God could accomplish. Actually, it is a relief that He thinks differently than us. Would you want God to think in the limited, self-centered, inconsistent way that we do?  Neither would I.

3. We run the risk of thinking more highly of ourselves than we should. If we minimize God’s holiness in an attempt to understand Him, we may inadvertently increase our significance to more closely match His. When we start to erase the gap between the amazingness of God and the reality of who we are, a problem arises. Thinking that we are equal to and just as deserving as God is not a minor matter. It is pride. Pride is a sin, and sin has consequences. Remember Satan’s downfall?  

Remembering that God is God and we are not is always valuable. We often attribute human characteristics to God, and we describe His qualities using a human scale. We forget the awe and wonder that is due His name. However, He is more than we realize, more than we give Him credit for, and more than we can ever comprehend. God is so much more.

(This was my September submission to devotableapp.com — check that website out for a daily devotion!)