Faith, Living Life, Uncategorized

Remembering God’s Assuring Love

 

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In this society which seems to be imploding with division and blind contention, I cling to the comfort I find in Christ Jesus, in knowing who God is.

 

This chapter of Psalm reads as if it were written only recently, its words so descriptive of modern day humanity.

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The highlighted portion of this text is what I hope to leave foremost in your hearts today. For though the first few verses of this chapter describe a scene of hopelessness and a plot in which evil wins, the message of God’s love toward those whose hope is in Him comes shining through!

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As a ship lost in the overwhelming storms of the sea, those onboard finally seeing a guiding light beam through the darkest sky, finding new strength which springs forth from within them, and they feel renewed determination to hold on and fight the good fight.

 

   “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5

 

“I have a message from God in my heart
concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God
before their eyes.
  In their own eyes they flatter themselves
too much to detect or hate their sin.
  The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;
they fail to act wisely or do good.
  Even on their beds they plot evil;
they commit themselves to a sinful course
and do not reject what is wrong.
  Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
  Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
  How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
  They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
  For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
  Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.
  May the foot of the proud not come against me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
  See how the evildoers lie fallen—
thrown down, not able to rise!”

Psalm 36

 

Find comfort, my friends, in this declaration of God’s unfailing love! I pray that your hearts are bathed in it until it saturates every part of your soul with His perfect peace!

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Faith, Uncategorized

Touching the Heart of God

This is a little bit longer than most of my stories, but if you will bear with me and read til the end, I believe there is something God wants you to know today.

 

I was reading this passage from the Bible this morning. This takes place during the time of Christ’s ministry here on earth. News of the miracles which had taken place had spread throughout the land, as people spoke of this man called Jesus, who did marvelous, unexplainable things and who spoke with such wisdom.

 

Often, very large crowds followed Him wherever he went. Some seeking a healing for sickness, some desiring to hear what He had to say, and some who were simply curious about Him.

 

Mark 5:21-43 (NIV)

When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake.  Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet.  He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”  So Jesus went with him.
A large crowd followed and pressed around him.  And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.  She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.  When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,  because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”  Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.  Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.  He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James.  When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly.  He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.”  But they laughed at him.
After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was.  He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”).  Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.  He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.”

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Once again, there was a very large crowd pressing in around Him, following him that day. To put it into perspective, when the bible speaks of a large crowd, it may mean 50 people, or it could easily have meant hundreds or even thousands. Remember when he fed 5,000 people with just a few loaves and fishes? Or the time when Jesus got into a boat and anchored just a short distance from the shore and taught the people from there, because the crowd was so large.

 

So as you read the story, you can imagine why the woman had difficulty reaching Jesus.

 

Several years ago, we attended an outdoor production of ‘Jesus of Nazareth’, or ‘The Passion Play’ as it is sometimes called. During the portrayal of this particular scene in scripture, as Jesus walked toward Jairus’ house and the crowd pressed into Him, the entire scene suddenly turned dead silent. All the characters stood frozen in a suspended pause, and the spotlight shown down on one single personthe lone, solitary woman, pushing her way through the people, using all her strength and power, desperately reaching her arms as long as they would go, never letting up until finally, she was able to reach through with one hand and just grasp the end of Jesus’ robe. It was quite a dramatic scene. Had it not been slowed down and highlighted, the entire moment would have been completely obscured. So anytime I hear this story, that scene replays in my mind.

 

This woman probably never thought she would actually be able to get Jesus’ attention that day because of the crowd of people. I assume that because she was an older, chronically sick woman, that she was perceived as unimportant in society, perhaps even invisible or outcast, her status in life meager. I doubt anyone even realized she was there. But in her mind, it was enough that she just touch Jesus’ clothes and she knew she would be healed.

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But Jesus did notice her, and He turned and looked for her. Little did she know that her one, small moment would be of such significance that it would be recorded in the Word of God, for future generations to learn of the magnificent faith of this one poor woman.

 

The most obvious focal point of this passage of scripture is this dear woman’s faith… so quiet, yet so monumental that Jesus actually felt the healing power leave His body! There’s so much more to learn from that alone, but today, there is something else I want to share.

 

It’s like us sometimes. We see the wide world all around us, we see all the striving, we see all the needs around the world and around our communities, we see people hurting and suffering. We think, surely, my needs are insignificant in comparison…certainly, my status in life is less valuable when I look around at our fast-moving world of high achievers. How can God possibly see me, when there are so many pressing into Him?

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But I think that when you speak to Him, or you praise Him, or you weep, that everything else in the world suddenly becomes dead silent… the noise and turmoil and chaos comes to a halt and all goes quiet….

 

And in that moment, just as Jesus stopped what He was doing and looked for her, so does He look for you. And God’s spotlight shines upon just you… His focus becomes centered on you alone… you have His attention and He bends toward you and sees you… and hears you… and loves on you. And just as He felt the power leave His body when the woman touched His clothes, so does He feels the power of His Spirit being siphoned from Himself to you, because you are not just touching His robe, you are touching His heart, as you are restored, comforted, strengthened, and filled with joy.

 

You are His most important child, and I am His most important child, as is each and every one of His children. Yet that does not lessen our individual value in His eyes, not even in the smallest degree.

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Keep pressing in through everything around you, keep reaching out to touch the heart of God. He sees you, He is listening, and He loves you.

 

 

 

 

 

Faith, Home Life, Uncategorized

Don’t Forget to Look Up

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It’s hard to believe we’ve been in our house just about three and a half years. I guess when a house really feels like home and you allow yourself to finally put down deep roots, it feels like you’ve been planted there longer.

 

We have completed several renovation projects on our small home, one of which was a complete kitchen remodel. I like to add my own unique touches and features that make my home feel welcome and warm for my family and guests.

 

The kitchen ceiling is one of those, with a recessed section in the middle of it, and a hand-painted medallion which shows off the beautiful light fixture. It’s a lovely feature.

 

But you know what? I seldom enjoy it anymore because when I’m in the kitchen, I never look up! I’m just so focused on my task or walking through to wherever I’m going, and I don’t think to look up. My gaze is fixed on my eye-level view.

 

So when my granddaughter said the other day, “Grandma, that’s a really pretty light”, I looked up and said “Yes, it is!”. And the Lord placed this thought in my heart.

 

“Don’t forget to look up!”

 

It’s so easy to forget to do that! Life gets busy, there are so many world events that overwhelm our sense of security, not to mention our own personal life crises. Discouragement causes our gaze to drop and we barely find the strength to just get through today. It skews our perspective.

 

Knowing we would face those times, God gave us reminders in His Word to lift up our eyes!

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I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.”  Psalm 121

 

Jesus lived this himself as an example for us to follow, when his dear friend Lazarus died and upon arrival at the scene, He gave thanks to His Father in heaven for hearing Him and for the miracle He knew was about to take place.

 

“Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.”  John 11:41

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Oh, my prayer is that while I am busy with this life, that my eyes will remain fixed on Him! That I will never forget to look up!

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(Photo- Robin Abrams, A Song In My Heart)