Really Jesus?! Children?!

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The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.

Mark 10:14-15

Jesus was constantly surprising people by His word and His actions, even His disciples who had been with Him for some time. He refused to condemn the woman caught in adultery, He dined with tax collectors, He touched lepers, He healed all, He fed thousands with a handful of food, He walked on water, He taught with such authority that people scratched their heads in amazement, He claimed to be the Son of God. And here, He has the audacity to tell His disciples that children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Who but Jesus would elevate children to such a place?

Jews at that time would have been taught that the kingdom of God is something you earn your way into and how could a child do that? By their standards, most adults couldn’t do it.   The disciples attempted to shoo the children away,  thinking Jesus apparently had more important things to do. Once again, Jesus surprised the crowds, the Pharisees and the disciples by showing them what He considered worthy of His attention and His kingdom – children.

This is a beautiful story of Jesus welcoming all of us who can’t earn our way in to be able to freely enter the Kingdom of God. The kingdom prepared and planned by God, planned and prepared for us. A kingdom where Jesus is Lord over all. I don’t know what that kingdom will look like, but I suspect that if Jesus is Lord it might look a lot like all of these things He did on earth that surprised people. Loving the least of people, healing the all and the many, dining with the ones society might call unworthy, refusing to condemn those we would gladly point a finger at, opening His arms and His heart to children. Welcoming people like me and people like you and laying His hand on our head to bless us. Wow! I can’t even begin to imagine the healing that flows from His hand when He lays it on my head. Can you?

What a beautiful story this is Jesus of Your love for us all, for me. To be welcomed into Your arms, knowing full well I can do nothing to deserve such a love or embrace and yet…  Words fail me now, I am so touched by the thought of Your kingdom and Your hand of blessing on my head. Thank You. Amen.

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The Children’s Bread

I have dogs. Four of them. They love our leftovers and any crumbs that fall to the ground are fair game. Fastest to get to the spoils wins. More than anything, though, they would dearly love to just take our plate and have first pick of what’s there. But they are dogs and get crumbs.

Matthew 15 tells the story of a woman who was outside of a relationship with Jesus. She was a Canaanite and while she had probably heard stories about Him, she didn’t have a relationship with Him. Her daughter though, was “cruelly demon-possessed” and she had no where else to turn. So she approached Jesus. At first, He didn’t even answer her request for mercy and then when He did respond, He told her that “it isn’t good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs”.

Oddly enough, she persisted. He just called her a dog (Gentiles were referred to as dogs at that time) and she responded with, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their master’s table”. He commended her for her faith and healed her daughter.

I don’t know about your home but bread is pretty much a staple around here. Regardless of the grocery budget, there is bread in the house. It’s a rather common, easily found sustenance. And Jesus related healing to bread and not just bread but bread crumbs. Healing isn’t meant to be something reserved for special people at special times and only under special circumstances. Healing is as common in the kingdom of God as bread is to the American diet.

Healing is the children’s bread. Jesus said so and so it must be true. This woman picked up what He was laying down and her daughter got healed as a result of her faith. She was persistent in pressing in for her daughter’s healing. We should be so persistent.

Lord, I humbly come to You today looking for my daily bread. My healing that You promise. I have no where else to go and just like the woman in this story, I will, by Your grace, be persistent in pursuit of my healing. I am grateful for the work You are doing in me through this trial and I am grateful for Your continuing presence in my life. And I am grateful now for the day to come when my healing is evident. Thank You Jesus, thank You Jesus, thank You Jesus. Amen.

The Kingdom of God

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… and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you”.   Luke 10:9

When Jesus sent disciples out to minister to people, He made it clear that the kingdom of God and healing are inseparable.  Healing in His kingdom is a given.  I am a child of the kingdom – the kingdom where there is no pain, no sickness, no disease, no cancer, no arthritis, no immune system disorders, none.

Jesus prayed, “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”.  One of the purposes of sending Jesus to us was to open our eyes to see the kingdom of God here on earth. This was the “good news” that He gave us through Jesus, that His kingdom was being established on earth.  But how and where?  Certainly not in big buildings or governments establishments or even in the best of churches.  Mike Wilkins says this of the kingdom of God:  “The disciples could say to the people,  “the kingdom has come near you”, because it had. It had come near in the way that they were behaving.  The kingdom is a kingdom of blessing, of friendship with God and His people, and it is a kingdom of healing – physical, emotional, spiritual and even cosmic or environmental healing”.

The disciples part in this was to just believe and step out in faith.  That’s our part too, isn’t it?  Believe in His word and step out in faith.  And watch His kingdom explode here on earth!  How exciting is that?

Jesus, Thank You for showing us glimpses of the kingdom.  Let Your kingdom come here on earth; the kingdom You have invited us into.  Thank You for making the way possible for us to draw near to our Father God and receive all that He has planned for us, including healing.  Help my unbelief when it rears it’s ugly head and forgive me for it and help me to step out in faith to do all that You have called me to do. In Your name I pray,   Amen.

Remember?

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“Remember the day when we first met?  I do. 

I remember the sunshine and the sound of the creek as it rolled by. 

I remember your tears. 

I saw your pain, your confusion. 

You lost all hope that day, remember?

But you called out to me, remember that?  You called out through the tears.  Your words were barely audible, but I heard them.

And when you were out of words and out of tears remember how I held you?

Remember the peace we shared that day – sweet, heavy, lingering? 

Did you hear the angels in heaven rejoicing that day?  I did.  I remember it like it was yesterday.

You began reading my letters afterwards, remember that?

You couldn’t put them down.  You hung on my every word.  Sometimes you smiled and sometimes you cried and sometimes you just sat there in silence holding my letter to your heart.  Do you remember?

Can I just say that I miss you?  Can I say that that time was special to me?  That everyday I looked forward to our time together? 

I loved how you forgot to eat sometimes and how you let chores go undone you were so intent on reading and rereading my letters. 

Remember that one day when you never even got out of bed – you just read my letters over and over again as the day slipped into evening?  I remember.

Can I just say that I miss you?”

I was washing dishes one day when God spoke these words to me.  Whispered is more like it.  I do remember those days, how long ago now?  Why is so easy to slip into a routine that leaves God waiting?  At the end of yet another day, when the  tyranny of the urgent screamed louder than that still, small voice of my Savior, guess which voice I responded to?  I am not proud of this.  I purpose daily to do differently.  Perhaps you do too.

Whatever the concerns of our life, however, pressing they may be, putting Jesus first, changes our perspective.  Problems lose a little of their power to dominate our thoughts and peace has a chance of prevailing in our lives.  In that peace, we can find a clarity we may miss when our thoughts are primarily on the problem.  Problems come and go, pain, sickness, relationship issues, financial problems,  these are sometimes part and parcel of our lives, but they don’t need to be the dominating factor in our lives.  Jesus knows our need, our wants, our deepest, sometimes unspoken hopes and He says to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (His way of doing things) and ALL these things shall be added unto us.

I do remember, Lord, when You were my highest priority.  I remember hating to put Your word down, looking forward to every minute I could spend with You.  I want to return to You in that way, forgive me and help me, I pray.  Thank You for being faithful to me even when I am not faithful to You.  As I seek to put You first, I will rest in the knowledge that You know the need, and are willing to provide for me.  I am grateful.  Amen.

Great is Thy Faithfulness

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Great is Thy faithfulness, oh God my Father; There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not; As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Ever get a song stuck in your head?  I have many times, usually some ridiculous commercial jingle that plays and replays.  I can’t change songs sometimes, but sometimes, I can, and when I can, I sing this song.  It’s a beautiful reminder that God hasn’t changed. The same God who said I am the God that healeth thee is still saying those same words today.

When Jesus came to earth, He came to show us what our Father in heaven looks like, what He sounds like, what He places a priority on, what angers Him, what hurts Him, what blesses Him.  All we have to do to see God is to look at Jesus.

And when we Jesus what do we see?

We see Him, moved with compassion, healing all who were sick and oppressed of the devil. Healing is still a priority in the kingdom of God.  His compassions fail not, He changes not. As He has been, He forever will be.

Our God who heals you.  Our God who heals me.

Next time a song gets stuck in your head, why not change the channel to Great is Thy Faithfulness?

Father God, thank You that Your compassions do not fail.  Thank You that You are still in the business of healing and You know my need. Thank You for being my Healer God.  When other songs get stuck in my head, help me change the channel to a song that reflects Your faithfulness.  Amen

It Feels Like Heaven

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Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:

“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously”.  Matthew 10:7-8  Message Bible

A fifth grade boy I work with is extremely sensitive to the Spirit of God.  He makes comments sometimes that amaze me.  He doesn’t talk about God; I have no idea if he is a Christian or not, but I do know he is spiritually perceptive.  One day, he was working on a word search puzzle, bent over his paper and I came up to say hi.  I placed both of my hands gently on his shoulders.  He turned around quickly.  His eyes were big as saucers and he said, “don’t touch me”.  He has never refused a hug or a pat on the back so I asked him why.  He said, “when you touch me, it feels like heaven”.  I asked why that felt bad to him and he couldn’t answer.  I wasn’t sure what to make of that.

We, as Christ followers, filled with His Spirit, have the ability to touch others for heaven’s sake.  A touch that isn’t always welcome. We are to be the harvest hands of Jesus sent out with a charge.  A charge to tell people that the kingdom of God is here.  A charge that includes bringing health to the sick among other things.  People aren’t always so comfortable with the kingdom of God, even some Christians, especially when it comes to divine healing.  Divine healing is a divisive issue in some Christian circles.  I know people who have been hurt by other Christians when their healing didn’t manifest according to their schedule.  Jesus made it very clear here, however, that we are to bring health to the sick.  Health He would purchase on the cross.

If you are believing for a healing that hasn’t yet manifested, you may have to look beyond church doctrines, beyond well-meaning people of faith, beyond present experiences and look to Jesus.  What does He say about healing?  He said it is part of the kingdom of God that is here.  Now.

Thank You Jesus for thinking of me when You were headed to the cross.  Thank You for showing me what the kingdom of God looks like and showing me that it is for me here and now as well as for an eternity.  Help me to keep my eyes on You through this healing process and help me to bring health to the sick as I proclaim Your kingdom.  Amen.

Do you need healing?  I would love to pray with you and for you.  Please let me know.

Do you have a healing testimony?  I would love to hear it and share it with others.