Luke 9 Part 1–Now It Is Your Turn

It is difficult to grasp the enormity of what Jesus accomplished when He sent out the apostles to minister.  Remember, Jesus came to do several things.  He came to give folks a clearer picture of God– His heart, and His desire to have a personal relationship with people.  He also came to demonstrate the difference between being religious and being in relationship with God. Finally, He came to redeem our souls through His sacrifice and resurrection.

Today’s passage was His first real demonstration of God’s desire to make the relationship personal.  Jesus sent out the 12 to do what he had been doing.  The message to His guys was simple, “Go do what I am doing and do not take anything with you.  Let the people provide; and, if the reject you, shake the dust from your sandals.   Jesus wanted His disciples to know they were being prepared for something great. 

As they traveled through the countryside, they were healing and changing the world.  It was a miracle; it was a confirmation that Jesus was and is who He said He was.  Not only was He saving and changing lives, those that He appointed were also doing the same.  

As His chosen, we are called to do the same. We are told to go and make disciples of all nations.  We are told to be Christ’s ambassadors.  We are told to be content with our lives and know that we can do all things through Christ–who is faithful to supply all our needs. Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Corinthians 5:20, Philippians 4:11-13. 19.  In short, we are to walk and live by faith as Christ and His disciples also lived.  We are to walk without fear.  We are to pray, seek and trust God to use us as He sees fit.  We are also to live in a way that is confident in His plan and His desire to prepare, protect, and provide for our needs.

He has been teaching His chosen that for millennia!

God Bless You

_____________________________________________


When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.

Luke 8 Part 4–Faith and Timing

Jesus understood better than any about both God’s timing and His power. Jarius, a synagogue leader, met Jesus and humbly asked Him to come and heal his daughter that was dying.  Jesus was willing and went with Jarius.  The crowd was pressing on every side, but one lady that had tried everything to get relief from a lifetime illness could not get Jesus attention.  She could not reach Jesus, but thought if she could simply touch Him, she would be healed.  In a fortunate twist of fate, the lady was able to touch the edge of Jesus garment.  Her faith healed her, and Jesus sensed it.

Jesus spoke out and asked who touched Him.  Hundreds of folks had pressed up against Jesus.  But both Jesus and the woman knew immediately. She came forward, deathly afraid, and admitted to Jesus she was the one. He encouraged her faith and sent her away joyfully. Then bad news arrived, Jarius’s daughter had died. It was at that moment that Jesus showed His faith and power.  He told Jarius to trust God and His daughter would be healed.  When they arrived at the house, Jesus limited access and told the mourners to just stop.  They laughed at Jesus–but within minutes, Jesus raised the child, handed her over to the parents, and swore them to secrecy.  He then went on His way.  

Understanding God’s timing and power is a function of knowing Him.  Jesus knew God, as He was God. He knew that He was not bound by men’s time or their methods.  He was pleased to see the woman receive healing by touching His garment.  It did not relieve Him however of His desire to save the daughter.  Jesus was and is always concerned for His chosen.  No issues are a surprise to God, and no problem too large or too small.  Both then and now,  God meets the needs of His people in ways another might think impossible.  God was not limited then and is not limited now.  We must simply trust and follow Him as Jarius, the woman, and the apostles did.  If we will continue to follow Him, we can trust the Lord will protect and provide for us.  He may do it later than we think He should, or in a way we do not anticipate.  God will be God no matter what.

God Bless You


Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years,[c] but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”

50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”

51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”

53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.

Luke 7 Part 3–John, and the Crisis of Faith

Clearly, the crowds had moved on.  For a time, John the Baptist was the Rockstar.  People came from everywhere to see and be baptized by this man of God.  He spoke with authority and preached repentance to a world that had abandoned their faith.  He was rough and burley.  He was so different from the norm, that people would come to see him simply because of his oddity.  But, when they heard him speak of Messiah–well then hope was restored.  

Then, the day came when Jesus started his ministry.  John announced Jesus and baptized him.  John knew Jesus was Messiah–he had known it from the time they met in their Mom’s wombs!  Still as Jesus grew in popularity, John’s following dissipated.  His disapproval of Herod’s behavior landed John in jail awaiting execution.  John’s faithful team kept him up to date about what was happening and the growing popularity of Jesus.  There in the jail, John questioned his purpose and his call.  John sent his guys to confront Jesus–Are You the one?

Jesus, as he had with so many others, sent back a message of comfort and peace.  “Tell John what you have seen–the healing, the opening of eyes, the casting out of demons and the raising folks from the Dead.  In a word, Jesus assured His cousin that while His ministry was different, their purpose was the same.  Jesus was changing the world and Its picture of the Heavenly Father.  Jesus was not mad.  He did not take offense at John’s crisis of faith.  Instead, Jesus reminded all that were there–a large crowd, to say the least, that John was a superHero.  He changed the course of many lives and prepared the way for Messiah.  Still, compared to God’s chosen, Jesus reminded the people that even rockstars pale in comparison.We, as His people, are children of God. 

We will stand with the Lord for eternity.  When life gets hard and circumstances seem hopeless, we must take our hope from that promise! John knew and we must cling to the fact that Jesus Christ is enough. He must be enough in both good times and bad.  He must be our sufficiency whether we are hungry or well fed.  He has to be the center of our faith.  Jesus comforted His friend because sometimes it is hard to see the miracle that is sitting in front of us.  Because of Jesus, we are able to be in a personal relationship with God, Our Heavenly Father.  That is a great gift.

God Bless You


John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, 19 he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”

21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

24 After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way before you.’[b]

28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

Luke 5 Part 2–Meeting People Where They Are Hurting

As I grow older, I am more amazed with the patience of Jesus as He dealt with the religious leaders.  They were in effect, His team.  They represented the chosen people of God. Yet, as they stood and watched God do amazing things–all they could muster, was the ability to criticize and second guess God’s work.  Jesus did not let that slow him down though.  He was on earth to show people God from a human perspective. 

He healed the sick, cleansed the lepers and taught the masses that God was personal and loved them.  He wanted their worship to be awe and wonder, not fear and loathing.  So, He met folks right where they were.  He touched the leper not only to clean his flesh, but also to rid the man of the stigma of being untouchable.  Jesus forgave the paralytic–not to show off, but to address what was rendering the man paralyzed–not physically, but in his heart.

God continues to reach out to us right where we are.  Our needs are often a symptom of a deeper wound or issue.  He wants to go deep and cleanse us from the inside out.  Often, our prayers do not encompass what is really killing us.  We need to seek God and ask Him to show us what is enslaving us.  Then we can receive the Lord’s grace that allows Him to truly heal us.  I hope each of you have an amazing Thanksgiving and truly embrace all that you have to be grateful for.

God Bless You


12 In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

13 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. 14 Then Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone what had happened. He said, “Go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy.[c] This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

15 But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.

Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man

17 One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus.

18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, 19 but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. 20 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”

21 But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does he think he is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”

22 Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 23 Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? 24 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man[d] has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

25 And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”

Joshua 6 Part 2–God Exalts Joshua

It was the last day of Jericho. The people had followed Joshua’s lead and did exactly what God commanded.  The city fell.  The people of Israel gathered the God , Silver and Bronze and stored it in God’s treasury while everything else was destroyed.  Rahab, the prostitute that hid the spies and helped them to escape, was saved and she and her family brought safely to Israel’s camp; where she spent the rest of her life as a member of God’s people, and ultimately a member of Jesus’s family tree.

Joshua made sure that all was completed according to God’s command and then cursed the rebuilding of Jericho. God used this first epic battle to set the stage for what was to be the complete victory for His chosen people.  

The last sentence of the chapter, speaks volumes, “The Lord was with Joshua and his fame was in all the land.” Joshua did not care about his personal fame. He was focused upon trusting and honoring God. As he followed God’s lead and honored God’s name–the Lord exalted Joshua.  He prepared Joshua for the campaign, God provided all that Joshua needed to win the victory and God then allowed the world to know that Joshua was God’s man with access to all that God would provide to complete the victory.

During difficult times and horrendous odds, we need to trust God even more.  He is the victory. God leads, and God directs us to a place of victory and peace even when the odds are not with us.  Israel lost no one, and Jericho was completely destroyed. 

We need God’s same leadership through these most difficult days.  Please join me in prayer as we seek God’s healing of this great nation.  The enemy would love to see us destroy one another–but, that is not God’s plan for His people. If we will trust God and seek Him, He will direct our path and heal our land!

God Bless You


On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. 16 And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city. 17 And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction.[b] Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. 18 But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. 19 But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.” 20 So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. 21 Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword.

22 But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.” 23 So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. 24 And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. 25 But Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

26 Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the Lord be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho.

“At the cost of his firstborn shall he
    lay its foundation,
and at the cost of his youngest son
    shall he set up its gates.”

27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.

Jehovah Rapha–The God That Heals–Exodus 15, 1Chronicles 7, Matthew 9

As we learn the many names and attributes of our Lord, we realize that the names simply reinforce the fact that God is complete in every way and meets all of our needs. In our lives, it is a great thing that God is a God of healing. Since the fall of man, we lost the ability to be immortal.  Then, after the flood, people’s bodies became more and more frail and limited in life.  From the time of Noah when Methuselah lived almost a thousand years, peoples lives have diminished to the point that they now average 80 years.

In the midst of the reality of our mortality, God reminds us that he is available to heal us.  The  healing of our bodies, our souls and our spirits become a wonderful gift from a wonderful God.  In our lives, we can never underestimate the great healing and restorative power of God.  In James 5, James tells us to pray and anoint the sick, so that God will heal them. 

Jesus, in his ministry to show men the character of God, went village to village healing the sick and raising the dead.  He brought hope to the hopeless  and peace to those living in chaos.  That aspect of Jesus ministry–literally changed the live of many and established Jesus authority as God. (Matthew 9:5).  Our God heals and restores us physically, spiritually and mentally and emotionally–not simply because he can…but, because that is who he is.

God Bless You

Exodus 15

He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”

 

1 Chronicles 7

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
 
Matthew 9
 
But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Why do you harbor evil in your hearts? 5Which iseasier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk?’ 6But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” Then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”…

Table for 5000 Please–John 6 Part 1

Can you imagine the staggering impact Jesus’ question must have had on the disciples…How are we going to feed these folks. The buzz among his men must have been a mixture of shock and awe.  Clearly, there was no way either economically or logistically for the disciples to feed this crowd.  Yet, they have seen Jesus do amazing things every day.  So the brainstorming begins–it will take a half year’s salary, but that does not even deal with who will have that kind of supply! Andrew found a boy with a fish–kid’s meal–I am sure Jesus smiled at that one and said, “Okay, that should work!”

Remember, this same Jesus called the universe into being.  Light, earth, vegetation, sea creatures, birds, land animals and ultimately man. He has turned water into wine.  He has healed the sick, raised the dead, made the lame to walk and the blind to see. He has cleansed lepers, and astounded Rabbi’s–So what’s a little bread and fish among friends!!!

We need to remember–God has faced countless and impossible challenges for thousands of years.  He can handle the big ones like parting a sea or feeding a mob.  But, he takes equal care in  protecting his kids and meeting their needs.  He gets giddy about feeding a family.  But nothing brings him more joy than restoring that eternal bond with one of his own. We do not always know how God will execute his plan, but, with a little faith, we can rest easy that he is absolutely going to do so with excellence and power. What a guy to have a picnic with…right?

God Bless You

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

Told Ya So, Part 2-Genesis 42, Continued

As Joseph received his first glimpse of the character of his brothers, the jury was still out.  Clearly, the brothers now knew their treatment of Joseph was wrong–but was it wrong because they may now have to pay a price, or was it wrong because they sealed an innocent boy’s fait. That is what Joseph needed to know.  As he listened, they clearly pointed fingers at one another placing blame, but they also at least intimated they were the reason for their own problems.  a beginning of recognition and repentance.  It broke Joseph’s heart, but, it also gave him some hope for their future.

We all fail! When we are willing to take responsibility and face our failure, that recognition and repentance begins the restoration in our lives.  Like any parent, God loves us and wants nothing more than to forgive and move forward. In order for him to do that, however, we have to be willing to be open, honest and submissive to his leadership.  There is no room for placing blame on others, there is simply the choice to submit and honor our Heavenly father.  It is tough, it is humbling–but it transforms us into his image so we can claim with Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live–but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loves me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

God Bless You

They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.”

22 Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” 23 They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.

24 He turned away from them and began to weep, but then came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes.

25 Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to put each man’s silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. After this was done for them, 26 they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.

27 At the place where they stopped for the night one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his silver in the mouth of his sack. 28 “My silver has been returned,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.”

Their hearts sank and they turned to each other trembling and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”

Keep Moving–2 Thes 2 part 1

We are constantly hoping for Christ’s return.  In this life, we face challenges, trials and temptations that make staying here more of a chore than a pleasure.  As our culture continues to remove God from all aspects and replace it with self or other created things, we see continued chaos and despair.  We wonder about the world we are leaving for our kids and pray Christ will return soon.

Take heart–Christ is still in charge.  He still loves us and provides, prepares and protects us until we either join him or he returns.  He gives us the strength to face the journey we are taking and the hope of spending eternity with him.  But, we simply cannot sit around and wait for the sign of his coming back.  We must live each day to honor him  and conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of his gospel.  When he returns, it will be obvious–we have not missed it.  But, we cannot live as though that is all that matters.  Help me, Lord to live in a way that honors you and prepares me for your return.

God Bless You

 

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness[a] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

God’s Children-Galatians 3 Final

Being someone’s child is not a thing you do—it is simply a function of who you are. The reason God has chosen to make us his children is to free us from the bondage of performance.  The “Children of Israel” followed God from Egypt to the promise land and through the desert for 40 years and, as the bible records, did not behave very well.  None the less, God’s commitment to them never diminished, he always stuck with them.

When Christ came and gave himself for us, he simply expanded the relationship from a national commitment to one that crossed all boundaries. If we follow him, we will be his kid’s. He will love and care for us as a father does. He will make no distinction related to race, gender, tradition or other human distinction. He simply adopts you as you are–to allow you to become free from human bondage and prepared for an eternal life with him. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says it best, “If anyone is in Christ they are new creations; the old is gone-the new has come.” Trust him and become a Child of God not a slave to the world and its rules.

God Bless You

23 Before the coming of this faith,[j] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.