Setting Things Right

 

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Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

Matthew 9:35

Jesus confused people.  I think it’s safe to say that.  Everywhere He walked, He left behind Him people scratching their heads and wondering about this man that was the carpenter’s son.

He came preaching a message that was quite different from what people anticipated, even people who were well versed in the writings of the Old Testament prophets.  He healed the sick even on Sabbath and He delivered  people from the torment of Satan which served to demonstrate his message.  His primary message was the kingdom of God being here and now  and the things that he did were evidences of what the kingdom of God looked like.

He didn’t come to overthrow the Roman Empire or abolish taxes.   He came to right what had been wronged in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had been given a kingdom to exercise authority upon and they chose instead to believe the lies of the serpent and rebel against the god who created them. Before we throw stones at them, we should ask ourselves if we have believed the lies of the devil. Have I believed that God is holding out on me, that His best is not enough for me, that I would rather do things my way then His?Have I believed that I am worthless, that I can never do anything good enough,  that I am not worthy of love? Have I accepted the doctor’s diagnosis to the point of believing this condition is not curable, that I will never be well?

If so, then I hope we can look at what Jesus said and demonstrated about the kingdom he was setting aright.  He healed the sick, he delivered people from satanic attacks and he preached a message of repentance and forgiveness.  Why? Because simply overthrowing the Roman Empire might temporarily set captives free, but only Jesus could permanently set captives free.

Why would setting captives free matter so much to Jesus?  Because it matters so much to our Father in heaven.  Jesus came to do the will of His Father.  Jesus came in love and because of love and all that He did demonstrated that love to a hurting and broken world.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

 

Father, thank You for sending Jesus to show us Your heart.  What love You have demonstrated in making a way for us to be set free.  When the thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, remind us of Your love for us.  Whisper Your truth in our hearts so that we may be set free to love You in return.  Let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Amen. 

 

Pic credit:  kingdomcitizens.org

 

 

 

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Lottery Ticket

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The school where I work is holding their annual plastic drive. Families bring in plastic trash and the classroom with the highest weight of recyclable plastic wins.  The school in the district with the highest weight wins. Last year, our school won and the kids would like to win again.

I brought in a large bag (4 feet tall by 2 1/2 feet wide) stuffed with plastic.  All of the kids wanted to take that to their class but only one bag so, in an effort to be fair, we decided on lottery tickets. I put kid’s names on tickets and placed them in a bowl and drew out one lucky winner.  Kids that did not hear their name called were disappointed for themselves but happy for the winner.  Probably slightly more disappointed for themselves. These are elementary aged children! We, as adults, would never act that way! Right?

I recently shared with a friend that God had healed me of fibromyalgia.  He has been in pain for years and has had countless surgeries and still not completely healed. I hoped to encourage him to not give up on God.

All he said was, “lucky you”.

Then he added, “congratulations”.

I wanted to say this wasn’t a lottery. Healing doesn’t depend on luck. God promises that what He has done for one, He will do for all. He is no respecter of persons. But he had that closed off look people get when they don’t want to hear any more.

I understand giving up on God. My healing didn’t come after one prayer, or one time of being anointed with oil, or one week of confessing healing scriptures. This blog is testimony to the time I have spent waiting on a healing and the posts only cover four years. I lived with chronic pain for over 22 years and then one day, the pain was gone. I can’t explain that but I know luck deserves no credit whatsoever.

I remember all too well hearing testimonies of people being healed and feeling sad for myself because I wasn’t. I didn’t credit this to luck as much to thinking I had done something wrong. Didn’t have enough faith or something like that. Maybe I waivered in my faith too much or didn’t confess enough.

There was a tremendous amount of torment in waiting for a healing that didn’t seem to be coming. And so I gave up. I gave up blogging and searching for answers. I gave up confessing scriptures and seeking God for a healing.

I never gave up believing, however, that God is a healer and that healing is the children’s bread. I simply gave up letting that quest dominate my prayer life and my thinking.

And one day I realized I hadn’t taken any pain meds in quite a while.

I couldn’t remember the last time I couldn’t sleep because of pain.

The pain that had been a part of my life 24/7 was gone.

That’s not luck, that’s God!

Abba Father, thank You.  Thank You for touching my body and bringing the long awaited healing. I praise You for not forgetting about me or giving up on me or turning Your back on me.  For those who are waiting on a healing, Lord, I ask that You touch them in a palpable way, remind them of Your love and grace and mercy.  And please, let Your healing flow to them.  In Jesus’ name, amen.  

 

 

 

 

pic credit:  clipartfest

 

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.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

And behold, there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit: and she was bent double.  And when Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your sickness”.  And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made erect again, and began glorifying God.  Luke 13: 11-13

I find this fascinating.  I’ve heard and read all kinds of teachings on this passage but what stands out to me is just this.  Jesus took one look at this woman, immediately noticed not only what was wrong but what was causing it and His first words were “you are freed”.  Jesus knew what the kingdom of God was supposed to look like and it didn’t look like this – a woman bent double because of a sickness brought on by a spirit.  And He set her free.  He didn’t first teach her anything, or determine if she was an Israelite, or expect her to have faith, He didn’t question if she dabbled in the spirit world or even what her name was.  He called her woman and set her free.

It reminds me of the activity sheets I give kids where there are some things in a picture that just don’t belong there and their task is to find what is wrong with the picture.  Jesus saw instantly what was wrong with this picture.  Sometimes we fail to do that.  We tend to accept some things as just part and parcel of life – flu during flu season, allergies during allergy season, arthritis as we age and so on.  But I don’t see those things in the kingdom of God and apparently Jesus didn’t either.

I really love how Jesus moved so quickly on that woman’s behalf.  Jesus came to set things right for all of us.  He came to proclaim liberty to the captives.  What holds you captive today?  What things are wrong with the picture of your life?  Bring them to Jesus and let Him move on your behalf today bringing healing and freedom from all that doesn’t fit the description of the kingdom of God.

Jesus,  You are so compassionate, so tender and loving towards me and so determined to see me set free that You gave Your life so that I could be free.  Help me to walk in that freedom today.  Open my eyes to where I am blinded by the works of the enemy and cause me to see what’s wrong with the picture. Enable me to proclaim liberty over myslef and others in Your name.  Amen.