Category Archives: Trust

The Touch of His Hand

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This past week has been one long blur, resulting in a combination of medicines and my body’s need for healing sleep.  At times, I was so miserable that all I could do is lay still trying to avoid my progressively worsening cough.  I couldn’t breathe.  Literally, I couldn’t get the air I was in taking to filter to my lungs.  The Dr. said I had asthma induced bronchitis.  Nice to know, I guess, but I just wanted to feel better.  From experience, I knew that it would not take long until the miracle of modern medicine would work it’s magic and I would soon be back to good health.  I did let my mind wander to the days of pre-medicine though, and tried to imagine what it would have been like for many who, experiencing the same type of sickness I have just suffered, had no hope for cure. Perhaps they had access to medicinal herbs or lived close to one of the major cities where some sort of medical knowledge might have been helpful, but for the most part, there was no known cure for many of today’s common illnesses.

I then let my mind journey even farther back through time, to the days when the streets of Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem and Judea were nothing but tired and worn trails of dust. They were also the only way that the cities of Israel were connected to each other. More than likely, caravans carrying wares to be sold in the market along with travelers making their way throughout the countryside could be seen on these streets on any given day. Another guaranteed sight, if one were to be walking the streets outside of any of the cities of Israel when Herod reigned in Judea on behalf of Rome, would be the various people for whom illness had driven them outside the city gates. In order to keep the greater populace living inside the confines of the city walls safe and healthy, those people having contracted leprosy, tuberculosis or other forms of highly contagious diseases were forced to find refuge along the highway or catacombs outside the city. The chronically ill were additionally forced to cry the word ‘unclean’ to passerbys so that no one might mistakenly come in contact with them. Think of this existence. These poor people were already feeling miserable, had been forced from their homes – in most cases, alone – they had to rely on charity for food, and if that wasn’t enough, also had to announce their uncleanness and unworthiness to all who might pass by them. The physical, mental and emotional toll on these individuals must have been overwhelming.

At some point, during this time period, word of unusual events started spreading throughout the country. For this small window in time, there lived One who might actually be able to help these ostracized folks. Eager to share what they had seen, men, women and children ran from city to neighboring city yelling and crying out the name of Jesus. This name, the wonderfully, powerful name of Jesus fell on the ears of the sick, laying outside the city. Maybe they felt hope and the possibility for a real life again. Maybe they had become so hardened that skepticism was the only emotion they could feel. Regardless of their reception of the news, the fact that something unusual was taking place in Israel could not be escaped. The documented love that Jesus had for the sick can be found in the New Testament eyewitness accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. John even ends his writings by saying in John 21:25, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

I let my mind wrap around the incredible surge of feeling that might have been felt by those who experienced the actual, physical touch of Jesus. For the outcast living outside the city, this touch meant even more as they had not experienced a touch from anyone in a very long time. No hugs, no handshakes, no pat on the back in passing, they were unclean and unable to be touched. The touch of Jesus not only healed these people permanently from their illness, but it radically changed the course of their life. Take a moment, let your mind roll around the opportunities that presented themselves to the sick through just that one touch by Jesus. As I lay trying to recuperate this past week, I savored the thought of feeling Jesus heal me of my cough. I stand in awe of His power and can only imagine what His personal touch felt like.

I will testify though, that I am better today and I give the credit for my health to only God. The prayers of a few close friends, availed much and I am confident that I felt the touch of God. We do not live during the time that God opened the doorway from heaven and allowed His Son, Jesus, to physically walk the earth. We do, however, live in a time when we, who believe and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, have His Spirit living in us. Jesus is not here, in person, to minister to the lost and sick, so it is up to us as His ambassadors to take his message to those outside the city gates. If the city is represented by the Church, in our times, then we must leave the safety and confinements of the church and go where the sick, unwanted and unloved live – outside the city gates. As Christians, we can bring the life changing, healing touch of the Master to those who truly need it but have no idea how or where to find Jesus. So many people wander outside the gate. They may not shout the word, ‘unclean,’ but they undoubtably feel unclean. Only those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, can ever feel clean and whole.

The world needs the Healing Touch of Jesus! Will you be the hands He uses?
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Safety in the Storm

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I am not a fan of thunderstorms!  I do enjoy a nice, quiet and gentle rain – especially if I get to lay in bed and read a good book while I hear the rain in the background.  Once you add the sound effects of thunder and lightning though, I lose my sense of relaxation.  In fact, I tense up and jump as the thunder snaps.  We had the pleasure of encountering one of these storms the other evening as we were driving.  The sky was alive with electrically charged and vivid displays of white heat as lighting sizzled across the black sky.  This was followed immediately by the loudest sonic booms that I believe I have ever heard.  The highway shook underneath us from the power of this storm (maybe that’s exaggerating a bit, but it very well could have been shaking).  A few minutes later, the rain fall became more forceful until it turned into hail.  This was a severe thunderstorm, in the words of the emergency message that sounded a few minutes later over the radio (thank you, National Weather Alert System!).  As I watched nature’s drama taking place outside the windshield while gripping the seat with white knuckles, my husband said, “relax”.  Huh?  Are you kidding me?  Who could relax in all of this cosmic chaos?  “Relax.  You are in the safest place,” he said again.  Whoa!  I surely did not feel relaxed and I may be slow on the uptake, but what was safe about this situation?   I know that my wide-eyed look of horror must have conveyed this question to him, because he continued, “you are surrounded by rubber tires which grounds you and prevents the lighting’s electricity from harming you.”  That sounded familiar.  I do remember hearing that from childhood and oddly enough, I started to calm down.  My husband has that ability.  He is truly my rock!

I have another Rock!  He is my anchor in a troubled storm.  He gives me peace when chaos is all around me.  “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”  Psalm 4:8 (NIV)

Mark 4:35-40 tells the story of a violent storm:     

35 And the same day, when the evening was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Jesus is our example of how we should live our lives – in every aspect of our daily activities.  I believe that many lessons can be learned from this story but the most obvious truth is plainly spoken by Jesus.  “Why are you so fearful?  Why don’t you have faith?”  Even in His sleep, He was not afraid when everything around Him was swirling with unsettledness and danger.  This is the model by which He shows us how to live.  We are not to be afraid of anything for He holds us in the palm of His hands.  Nothing can harm us for He is our great Defender and Deliverer!  What are you afraid of today?  Give your fears to the Master of the wind and the Maker of the rain.  He will keep you in perfect peace when you are focused on Him!

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”

 Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

Out of Stock

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Picture Credit: http://www.cloutlet.com

I’ve been shopping for black pumps.  If you’re a female, you will know what I’m talking about, otherwise you may need a visual…..my husband had no idea what I was talking about when I asked him to help me look for pumps.  This gave me my chuckle (belly laugh) for the day!!!  After explaining that a pump was a close toed (this opened a completely new dialogue) shoe with a heel, we then proceeded to scour the shoe department in search for the perfect black dress pump.  Ladies, you know that of all dress shoes the black pump is the most versatile and standard staple that a girl can have in her closet.  This being the case, we located a multitude of pumps to choose from and the next phase of shoe shopping began.  Out came boxes…and boxes….and yes, more boxes until finally, the “one” arrived.  I knew instantly that this shoe would be the “one”.  It was classic and comfortable but just about a half size too small.  Wouldn’t you know it – the size I needed (and really wanted) was not available, it was out of stock.  All that time spent searching and trying on only to have my good mood shattered.  I started looking at all of the other choices, hoping that there might be one that would work.  Just about that time, the sales person came out with two boxes.  There were two additional styles that were not out on display yet and one of these boxes had the perfect fit.  This shoe far surpassed my first choice.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus,” Philipians 4:19 (NIV)

The blessings God wishes to shower on us are never out of stock.  Just like the boxes of shoes that were not on display, His storehouse is always full and overflowing with the gifts that he has waiting to give us when we ask.  “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him,” Matthew 6:8 (NIV).  Just as in my shoe shopping experience, the perfect answers to our prayers are just waiting for us.  We need to ask though in order to receive.  You do not have because you do not ask God.”  James 4:2 (NIV)  I could have spent the entire afternoon looking for black pumps in that shoe department and would have never found the hidden shoes.  I needed the wisdom of the sales person who knew what was in stock but out of sight.  If I had not asked for help I would never have been able to receive the shoes that I am so happy to now own.

Don’t hesitate to ask God for what you need.  His love for you is eternal and His desire to see you happy is immense.  Feel free to leave a comment sharing how God has provided for you from his storehouse of blessings.

Laundry Day

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I have two teenage boys.  Combine that with white clothes, and…..yup, you get the picture.  Dirty clothes, all the time!  I am convinced that even if the t-shirts or socks stay clean and white, the wearer feels it necessary to soil the item, just on principle.  Sometimes, I can’t even identify the crud and muck that is attached to their clothes.   I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to know what food has been ground in and how long it has been attached to the clothes that I am examining.  I am most certain that I don’t want to inhale the aroma that I refer to as “the stink” as it permeates the house.  A mother’s love truly knows no limits, although my limits frequently come close to being breached.  This morning was no exception.  I had laundry baskets lined up and ready to start sorting this morning.  Before I could even get to my older son’s pile, the overwhelming stench of ripe mildew almost drew tears from my eyes.  Yuck!

I know that I have told my son that wet swimming trunks and clothes need to be hung to dry before placing with other clothes.  He studied the process of mold creation in science.  This is not a new concept to my child.  It is amazing to see the disconnect between cleanliness and my son.  I will most certainly deal with him later, but for the moment I bit my tongue and dug into the dirt.  A little pre-wash, some laundry soap, a generous dousing of Clorox and 45 minutes later……white clothes!  Almost as good as new but a slight dinge still remained.  Sometimes I have been able to get close to the original white, but the creative stains that have found their way into my laundry are just too strong to completely disappear.

This process got me thinking.  I am that dirty shirt.  Maybe I don’t carry the stains on the outside where they are visible to the human eye, but without a doubt, I am a filthy rag.  “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”  Isaiah 64:6 (NIV).  Obviously, I am speaking metaphorically, but there is never a day that I have not piled dirt into my life.  Sometimes the dirt may take the form of  impatience with other drivers (this is a definite occurrence on a daily basis), other times I may lose my temper (this one, too).  Regardless of the enormity or smallness of my uncleanliness, dirt is dirt.  In order to become clean, I need to be washed.  Just as my laundry cannot wash itself, neither can I clean myself.  I am not capable.  Only One who is perfectly clean can perform this action.  Psalm 51:7 says, wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”  (NIV) Even the strongest, industrial strength Clorox cannot make something whiter than snow.

When I believed in the death and resurrection of  Jesus as the penalty for my sins, He washed me perfectly clean.  This is a promise I can claim for all eternity!  I am His and He is mine.  How beautiful and precious is this gift of clean clothes!  I am so thankful that I am washed by His blood and the stains, stink and dirt is forever gone and completely forgotten!

“I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me,Jeremiah 33:8 (NIV).

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”  Isaiah 43:25 (NIV)

It’s a Priority

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Wow!  This has been a super-busy week and I have not been able to write as I had hoped.  Too many other things pushed this out of the priority list.  I know that many of my friends use an actual, written to-do list but I have a running list that I keep on a conveyor belt in my mind.  I am constantly moving tasks by priority as I complete others.  More often than not, the tasks that I think are the most important get pushed to the end of the list as something at my children’s school or some other unplanned for event needs to jump in with priority.  It’s a vicious cycle that is usually a lose-lose situation.  Most definitely, there is not much me time.  Long gone are the days of bubble baths, girl’s night out or all-day shopping fests.  These have been replaced by laundry, cooking, cleaning, car pool and the list goes on and on and on, ad nauseum.  This afternoon’s priority was to help my husband in the yard.  He jokes that he never gets any help and sadly, he’s right.  So, I determined that I would indeed help today and make a priority.  You probably can guess how this task went….wickedly HOT afternoon, mosquitoes, and overall waning enthusiasm tanked my great intentions.  I quickly became a silent observer and practice some back seat driving (mowing, in this case).  What I did get to experience though was actually quite special.  As my husband worked on trimming some straggling branches to better frame our deck view, we heard some frantic screeching.  In a flurry of red, a family of cardinals came flying at break-neck speed out of the tree and did a quick fly-by as if to order construction on their home to cease.  Not quite picking up on this hint, my husband proceeded to finish the task.  The fly-around repeated in an even louder display of earnest fear and frustration.  What was not a priority for me, quickly became a priority for a family of red birds who had previously been enjoying a quiet and leisurely day.  Isn’t funny how priorities change?  It struck me as a gentle reminder as to how parents will do anything to keep their children safe and their home secure.  I can only imagine if a wrecking ball approached the window of one of my sons, how I would be running out of the door in a hot minute to put a stop to the impending destruction.  Psalm 55:22 tells us to “cast our cares on the Lord and He will sustain us; He will never let the righteous be shaken.”  Isn’t it great to know that no matter who comes to remodel our house, shake our foundation or disrupt our serenity that we have a Father who will never let us be shaken!  The hand that created the universe is the very same hand that holds me tightly in His palm.  I am forever safe and can rest in complete peace knowing that He watches over me.  I may never get all of my priorities aligned or completed and it is quite doubtful that I will ever be much help to my husband in the yard, but it is a fact that I am a priority to my heavenly Father and He always completes what He starts!

 

Walk This Way

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2 Corinthians 5:7
“for we walk by faith, not by sight” NASB

It seems as if most of my moments for deep thinking come while I am driving in the morning.  Today was no exception.  I rounded the corner adjacent to the subdivision I live in to see a blind person, using a white cane and crossing the walkway in the intersection.  My first thought placed me in my son’s bedroom a while back, where we spent a great deal of time studying for his drivers license test.  I had been quizzing him relentlessly so that he had a better chance of passing the dreaded written test that had a track record of claiming previous classmates and forcing humiliating retakes.  We came to a section that pertained to right of way for the blind.  In all my years of driving, I have never seen this played out to where it would become necessary to know this rule.  I told him that his odds for ever encountering this situation were probably 1000:1.  We breezed over that question and, as the luck of the unprepared would have it, this question was on the test.  Fortunately, my son had prepared well in all other areas and scored high enough to pass.  (No thanks to his mother….)

The traffic light was long this morning, maybe by Divine design, giving me the ability to watch this woman make her away across the street.  She seemingly was not upset that she had to travel in this manner, she actually looked content and quite happy.  This brought the second thought that swished around my mind in to play.  Am I like this woman?  I have eyes to see here in the natural but clearly have no seeing capability into the supernatural.  Therefore, I am handicapped in a similar manner.  Is it better to have sight in the here and now of everyday or is it more beneficial to have strong Spiritual eyesight?  Obviously, if I can, I would like to have both and feel truly blessed and thankful to say that, indeed, I do.  In the same manner as my everyday walks that find me sadly lacking in perceptive eyesight (and coordination) where I frequently trip, fall or run into furniture (it would be funny if it was not so painful), I find myself in the same Spiritual situation.  Just as I make a discovery that brings me closer to my Savior, I often trip over my own pride or fall into a pit of superiority.  Only then am I able to see that I tried to walk on my own rather than use the assistance of the One who guides and guards my steps.  I am quick to speak (red head syndrome) but often I do not choose to”fix His words in my heart and mind” (Deut 11:18, NIV) which only causes me to be a source of pain for someone else.  I am definitely speedy Gonzalez  running to share advice or or be the first to share bad news (I do so dislike this trait in others) but fail to seek the wisdom of the One who holds the future and can turn all things to good for his children.  What is wrong with me???  These are the times that show how blindly I walk in this world where all is not what we see.  “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places,” Ephesians 6:12.

I made a resolution to purposely put on the Armor of God each morning as I venture out into the crosswalks of life.  I may still have limited eyesight but by holding His hand, watching where I walk and staying close to His side I will have a much better walk than I do on my own.