Monday, February 28, 2022

Waiting For Jesus To Come

 Monday, February 28, 2022 

But when Jesus heard it He said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, He stayed two days longer in the place where He was. John 11:4-5

Waiting For Jesus to Come
Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus were close friends of Jesus.  He spent time at their house regularly and when Lazarus became seriously ill, they did what we all would do – sent word to their good friend.  Jesus wasn’t just a good friend, He was their savior too, and they had seen Him heal people and perform miracles. They knew He had the power to heal Lazarus, so they were calling on Him to come, because He loved Lazarus, and heal him too. The little word “So” tells us that Jesus chose to wait two more days before going to Lazarus.  It wasn’t that He couldn’t go, He chose to wait, and then it was several more days before He actually made it back to Bethany. Verse 17 of chapter 11 says when Jesus came, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.  He found Mary and Martha mourning and they pretty much told Him that He was too late. They told Him He should have been there sooner, and then Lazarus would not have died.  Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again, and she replied that she knew he would rise again in the resurrection on the last day. Jesus told her I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? She said to him, Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.  Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead that day.  He wanted them to see Him for who He was, not for what He could do.  It is who He is that makes Him so powerful, not what He does for us.

We don’t always get our prayers answered like that. We ask and wait and sometimes He doesn’t show up for a while – or at all – at least in the way we are expecting.  Some people believe that if He loved them He would answer their prayers and show up in their lives in the way they ask Him to.  But if He doesn’t, does that mean He doesn’t love us?  No!  We try to give God an identity based on what He does for us instead of who He is.  He is the resurrection and the life, He is the Great I Am, He is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, no matter what happens in our lives. We need to open our eyes and be willing to see God work in His way, not in the way we think He should.  God will be glorified in all things – if not on earth, then in Heaven. 

For His Glory
If you have ever sat by the side of a hurting, sick, or dying loved one, you know the ache and pain and how the minutes drag by.  When sitting with a sick child, praying and waiting for God to come and do something feels like an eternity. Jesus doesn’t seem to show up fast enough.  I can only imagine how Mary and Martha must have felt knowing how much Jesus loved them and their brother, yet He did not come. The last hours of a dying person’s life are so hard to watch, and Jesus could have stopped it. Why would He delay if He loved them?

The love of God in our lives does not equal comfort. In fact, many times He makes us very uncomfortable because He loves us. All those uncomfortable times are for His glory and for His purpose in our lives. He stretches us in those uncomfortable times, and He will be glorified, even if we don’t see it.  When He doesn’t come when we think He should or doesn’t answer the way we think He should, we start to believe that He doesn’t love us or care about us. Our pain and burdens may possibly be for someone else’s benefit; for Him to be glorified in their life. Some things we will never understand this side of Heaven. We must live by what we know and not what we feel, because in the worst times in life, our feelings cannot be trusted.  

Sunday, February 27, 2022

A Lazarus Situation

 A Lazarus Situation

John 11:1-44

In many of the circumstances we face, we can't control the clock or other people. In reality, God has integratedsuch difficulties in our lives as a means to reveal Himself to us.

God’s Love Isn’t Always Revealed In Favorable Circumstances Or Satisfaction.

We often associate the word love with comfort, but God associates love with faith.

·  God will not be manipulated by our circumstances. Neither will God be moved by how uncomfortable we may be in a situation.

Our incapacity to see God at work in our difficult circumstances is not an indicator of his love towards us or the limit of his ability for us.

·  We often confuse God's love with proof in circumstantial evidence.

How We Respond To Our Disappointments Is A Greater Indicator Of Our Faith Than Of God’s Love For Us.

The disappointments and difficulties we face should not change our understanding of who Jesus is.

Our response to disappointments and difficulties reveals if our faith has been built on what Jesus can do or who he truly is.

·  Faith and obedience are God’s love languages. 

The disappointments and difficulties we face are all part of God’s plan.

Friday, February 25, 2022

We All Thirst

Friday, February 25, 2022  

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.  Isaiah 55:1-2


We All Thirst

Today there are a lot of people desperately thirsty for meaning and purpose in life.  We are all searching, looking for relief.  Stopping at one fountain after another, we never find the one that satisfies until we get to the One who gives living water that brings new life.  Drinking from the wrong fountains only increases our thirst and never satisfies.  And yet, we continue to drink our own water, at great cost, without taking what God provides freely.  

The thirst within us causes us to search with an incessant quest for something that will satisfy; yet we search without finding satisfaction.  The evidences of our searching are scattered all around us in closets and garages and resumes.  What we thought was our treasure has now become our trash.  We need something beyond our own capacity to provide for ourselves to satisfy this deep craving of our soul.  God has what we need.  The prerequisite for coming to receive is not do we have enough money, but do we realize that He is what we need?  

Do You Know What You Need? For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?  Mark 8:36-37
We all know we need something, but sometimes we don’t know what or where to find it.  We are thirsty, poor, and powerless.  While we are the people with the highest world income and resource, we are so very poor.  In the midst of our abundance there is the reality of our poverty of spirit and emotion.  The basis of need is the dry thirst of EMPTINESS.  And when it is unfulfilled, it will rare its ugly head and scream until you fill it with something.  The more you fill it with what does not satisfy, the louder it screams for more.  It’s like drinking salt water when you are dying of thirst.  It will only make you more thirsty and unfulfilled. 

God can change your life if you are thirsty, needy, frustrated, empty and recognize that need.  If you are willing to receive His supply, COME TO THE WATER of His grace, repent of the sin of pride, receive His forgiveness and follow His direction for your life.  The fulfillment you are seeking is straight ahead, flowing from the fountain that always satisfies and never runs dry. 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

What Are the Marks of a New Life?

Thursday, February 24, 2022

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20  

When we become Christians, our lives should change. How should our lives look different? 

What Are the Marks of a New Life?

We have talked about some of the things that change when we begin our new life in Christ but there are a few more in the list. 

A New Direction – When we give our lives to Christ, we should seek His desire and His direction for our lives. Our paths may change very drastically, or only a little, but there should be change. Every step we take, every choice we make should be through the filter of our Heavenly Father and His guidance in our lives. 

A New Destiny – We now have the hope and promise of eternal life. We have been chosen and adopted as His children, joint heirs with Jesus, with a reserved spot in heaven. 

A Life Marked by Contrasts – We die to our “old man” – or the way we were – when we get saved. We become a new creature in Christ. What are the contrasts? Old to new, sinner to saved! We will struggle with the old man as we grow in Christ. In His power we can say no to the old man and focus on our new identity in Christ. 

A New Temperament – When we have Jesus in our hearts, our actions and temperament changes. We have the “fruit of the spirit” in our lives. The fruit of the Spirit is the good stuff that comes out of our lives as a result of having Jesus in our lives. Things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control may not have been a part of your temperament before you were saved. With the Holy Spirit – a gift of God when we are saved to help us in this life – we become more Christ like in our thoughts and actions. We could never do this on our own, only with the help of the Holy Spirit. 

A Life Marked by Submission – As Jesus is Lord of our life now, we submit to Him and to those in authority over us. 

A Life Marked by Service to God and Others – As Christians we will be drawn to serve Christ and in serving Him we will serve others as well. 

These are some ways our lives are different after we become a Christian. If we put God in first place - above everything in our lives, everything else will fall into place. We will be changed and it will be evident to those around us. 

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:2-3  

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Defined By Christ

 Wednesday, February 23, 2022 

Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices…  Colossians 3:5-9

 Defined By Christ

When we become Christians, we start down a new path in life. Most of the time when we start something new, we have to get rid of at least some of the old stuff. Starting a new life in Christ will change your life ethically. There will be things that you used to partake in, that now cannot be a part of your life if you want to start a new life and grow in Christ. Anything you used to do that is against God’s word and desire for our lives should automatically be out.

Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, 
impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry…

We are to consider ourselves dead to immorality such as impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed – which is all idolatry. The core of all sin is idolatry because we are putting these before God and anything that we replace God with is an idol. God deserves first place in our lives, and He cannot share the throne of our lives with anything or anyone if we are to have a right relationship with Him.

But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices…

The list above was primarily sins that we commit outside our body – or physically. This list is more about our heart: anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech, and lying. All prejudice, racism, and slander are gone when a new heart is in control. When we give our heart to Jesus and the Holy Spirit takes us residence in our hearts, He controls our heart, our motives, our speech, etc. as long as we let Him. It is when the “old man” comes, and we give him control that we have problems. 

One other thing that we must let go of so we can thrive in our new life in Christ is shame over where we have been. If we cannot let that go, it will hinder us from growing or moving forward in our new life. Shame is powerful. It is hard for us to think that God loves us despite what we have done. In fact, He loved us when we were doing it and He knew we would do it before we even did it. He forgives us but we have a harder time forgetting and forgiving ourselves and accepting His grace. 

We must shift our thinking from finding our identity in who we were to finding our identity in who we are in Christ. If we carry shame with us, we find our identity in our shame. A shame-based identity is Satan whispering in our ear constantly while we try to pretend he is not. It is the underlying thought that we are not worthy because of what we have done. We can’t stop shaming ourselves because of bad decisions and wrong choices we have made in the past. We may not even realize that it is shame, because to us, it is truth. But the real truth is that in Christ we are new creatures, with new identities. In this new identity we are ready to grow in Him and to be used by Him. 

Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.  Colossians 3:10-11 MSG


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

A New Direction

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

… seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  Colossians 3:1b-3 


A New Direction

Is it time to go a different direction in your life? Maybe you are feeling that something needs to change, and it is time. Maybe God has been calling you to go in a different direction and now you are ready. Beware - Satan loves to distract us with distraction and procrastination and keep us from going in the direction God is leading us. He does not want us to have a new life. He wants us to stay stuck in our old patterns of sin.    

Jesus said, But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 If we make God a priority in our lives and seek and desire the things of God, He will show us the direction we should go. When we know the direction we should go, we should set our minds on that direction and go!  

One thing about going – we must leave the old person behind. Dragging the old person will only bring us down and keep us from successfully moving down our new path. The “old man” is normally referring to the sinful man in us that is put to death when we become Christians. It is hard to grasp and even harder to deal with, but the old man doesn’t go away completely because we are human. We fight the old man (sin) as long as we live in these earthly bodies and Satan is still alive and pulling on the strings to help make that happen. He knows our weakness and he will try to trip us up every time. If we give into the old man, we let him have control over us. Other things besides sin are a part of the old man in all of us – things like condemnation, fear, and powerlessness against the assaults of the enemy. All of that is gone when we become new in Christ because we are protected and covered by His law. 

Even though the old man is dead, and we are new in Christ, we still must die to the old man daily. It is a daily ongoing battle, and we must stay sharp and on top of it so Satan cannot use our weaknesses against us. Our old sinful nature can still call out, “You must give in;” however, it now has neither power nor authority to back up its command. In Christ, believers can put to death every fleshly taunt and each sinful suggestion given to us by the old sin nature.

When you are ready to leave the behind the old and give up the sin you are caught in and don’t want to give up, then you are ready to go in a new direction. God has great plans of abundant life for all of us if we are willing to obey and go in the new direction He tells us to go. 



I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20  







Monday, February 21, 2022

The Danger of the Tongue

 Monday, February 21, 2022 

Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! James 3:3-5

The Danger of the Tongue 

The tongue is the strongest muscle in entire body.  A damaging word spoken in secret is much like a chigger bite…you can't see the damage until it gets serious. 

The tongue is the connecting link between the inner man and the outer world. For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. Matthew 12:34  It expresses the thoughts, mind, attitude, and intentions of man. It can reveal the true nature of man whether transformed or unrighteous. 

"Guard well thy tongue it stretches far, for what you say tells who you are."

The Tongue’s Evil is Deep and Wide 

In the passage above James dwells on the potential for evil rather than the potential for good with one's tongue.  He adopts a new image appropriate for his topic: fire. The effect of this choice of image can be shown by comparing it to another possible image. 

·      If he had compared the tongue to an ax, he could have portrayed quite vividly a destruction of a large tree by a small tool. 

·      Instead of such an isolated act of destruction however, James chose to portray a spreading destruction.  An ax destroys one tree at a time; but with our tongues one word can start a destructiveness that spreads beyond the initial act. 

It is true that someone who is hateful with their tongue will be hateful with other aspects of their behavior. If we do not discipline and purify our speech, we will not discipline or purify the rest of our life. 

James 3 says the uncontrolled tongue… 

1.    …is a world of evil--a whole world of wrongdoing and wickedness, a vast system of iniquity. The phrase implies a multitude of forms that our impure speech may take. 

2.    …corrupts the whole person--an image of a staining and defiling spread of sin from wicked speech into all other behavior. The contrasting pattern, using the same term in the form of a negative adjective, was in 1:27--keeping oneself unstained or unpolluted by the world. 

3.    …sets on fire the course of one's life-- depicts the tongue's wickedness as a conflagration spreading through the time span of one's life as well as the diversity of one's behavior. 

4.    …is itself set on fire by hell -- the same verb that described the action by the tongue is applied now in passive voice to expose the true origin of the tongue's blazing power to destroy. James picks up the term gehenna ("hell"). It is hard to imagine a more condemning way to conclude this description of the uncontrolled tongue

While most people are careful to guard their behavior few really understand the great power of speech.  There is nothing “innocent” about words.  Satan has destroyed more with the tongues of men than anything else.  We do well to pay attention to our speech.

And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.  James 3:6

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Marks of a New Life

Marks of a New Life

Colossians 3:1-4:1

To experience our new life in Christ, we must cease responding to the old man so we can become new in Him. The command of this passage is the challenge to become what we have been empowered to be.  We have the marks of a new creation on us.

Imputed righteousness is the righteousness of Jesus credited to the Christian, enabling the Christian to be justified.

Imparted righteousness is what God does in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit after justification, working in the Christian to enable and empower the process of sanctification.

A Life Marked By a New Direction Colossians 3:1b-3

Every day you get up without a purpose, a goal, and a plan you will live someone else’s.

Two great tools for Satan are distraction and procrastination. He does not have to get me to say I am not going to do something… just that I am not going to do it today.

Seek the things of God's design and desire…seek His direction.

Concentrate on the eternal and not the temporary.

"For you died" v.3 – past tense

We are concealed and covered in Christ, protected from the condemnation of the Law.

We experience our new life by dying to the old man daily … present tense

A Life Marked By a New Destiny Colossians 3:4

Our “destiny” is not the result of fate, chance, luck or even our determination, but the predestination of God for the believer.

I was saved, am saved and will be saved by the hand of God. I praise Him! 

A Life Marked By Contrasts Colossians 3:5-11

Proper faith will change your life ethically.

The things which lie behind

The things which must be left behind.

A Life Marked By a New Temperament Colossians 3:12-17




A Life Marked By Submission Colossians 3:18-22




A Life Marked By Service to God and Others 
Colossians 3:23-4:1


Friday, February 18, 2022

The Power of Release

 Friday, February 18, 2022

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. 
Isaiah 40:28.

I just love the wording of this verse. I don’t know of any words ever spoken that could be more comforting than those in the verse above.  .Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  It seems as if it is saying What are you thinking?  Why are you so distraught?  You know better than this!  It is like something I would say to my kids. Why are you so upset?  You know this! THIS IS NOTHING NEW!

It is funny how fast we forget when we are faced with adversity and trials.  We have heard it before, some of us our whole lives, yet in an instant we can panic and our faith goes to nothing.  We hear the pastor preach it, the Sunday school and Bible Study leaders teach it, and we even speak it on a regular basis, to others, our children and ourselves.  But when the time comes to really believe it; sometimes it is just downright hard.  

Part of the problem is that we often react to life rather than respond.  Our emotions seem to take over and our reasoning ability goes out the window.  It is human instinct to react, and often irrationally, when things go crazy, when the unexpected happens, or the dreaded expected thing really does happen after all.  In that moment it is so hard to remember that the Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth has everything under control.  Everything feels so out of control but that is not the truth.  Our perception is nowhere near His reality.  

The Power of Release

Have you ever been on one of those kicks where you just rip through your house, cleaning out closets, cabinets, and drawers and throwing stuff away?  It is such an empowering and freeing feeling to me to get rid of stuff.  Sometimes it is “stuff” I have held onto for a long time, thinking I would use it or that I might need it someday.  I have had those moments in regard to my faith in God too.  There have been times, not as many as there should have been, but a few times that I have actually released something that was burdening me into God’s hands.  What a great feeling!  Then, the feeling I got when I actually saw Him working things out was even more amazing.  There is so much power in just handing it over to God who does not become weary or tired, especially when I am so very tired by the “stuff” I am carrying.  Not only can He carry it for me, but He works it out for my good.  He loves me and has my best interest in mind and He is exponentially better at problem solving than I am.  

Yes, the Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth is in control of my life.  Does that mean I will never have any pain and suffering?  Does that mean I will never have any financial hardships or trials of any kind?  Absolutely not.  It just means I have someone who loves me and is there waiting to take my “stuff” and carry it for me.  He is there with inscrutable understanding, with an action plan to make all things work together for good.  It is so hard to trust Him sometimes.  It is so hard to release all my “stuff” into His hands.  It is easy to throw my hands up in the air and cry and fall apart.  He understands that too and He waits patiently for me to stop and release it to Him. 

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Jesus Is All We Need

 Thursday, February 17, 2022

Then again, He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored and began to see everything clearly. Mark 8:25

Jesus Is All We Need 

This week we have been focusing on the healing of the blind man in Bethsaida. He had some hope for healing when friends took him to Jesus. And Jesus did heal him in a special way by taking his hand, walking with him and spending a little time with him.  

The truth is that not everything becomes clear when you meet Christ.  We need Jesus’ touch again and again. The good thing is that Jesus gives us everything we need – every time we need it. There is no limit to what He will provide for us. We are all different and have different needs, and yes – He can provide all the different things all His children need at the same time. He meets each of us personally, where we are, and deals with us as individuals.

Just like the man in the story, He doesn’t always heal us or give us what we need instantly. He wants us to exercise our faith. Gradually as our faith grows, we begin to understand more spiritually, and we grow even more. This is the purpose of the journey! Not every wound from your past is healed immediately. You don’t suddenly understand everything in the Bible that you may have struggled to understand before. Not all your family issues, personal addictions, and financial problems disappear. Life does not automatically get easier, but your perception of life and how you handle it should change. You have the power of the Holy Spirit to lean on and a promised hope of eternal life. 

Because life is still life, we need more than one touch from Jesus too. We need Him when we stumble and when we struggle. We need Him when we doubt and when we fail. We desperately need Him when we feel unworthy and are overcome by fear, anxiety, and we need Him when we slip into sin. Living in the grace of God will take us so much further in our lives than living in fear of feeling unworthy. We will be more effective for the Kingdom by living in joy, gentleness – and grace.

When Jesus gives us a second touch, it is like going back to church when you haven’t been in a long time. It is like going home. We have a clearer vision, and we are experiencing Jesus like we never have before and wanting more. Spiritual understanding and wisdom come gradually as our faith grows. We begin to realize that God still loves us, still adores us, still wants a relationship with us, even when we wander away. He never gives us and never stops loving us.  

When we make a mistake or “backslide,” it is easy to get into the mindset that we are a lost cause, that Jesus wants nothing more to do with us, that our life is a hopeless mess. This is exactly what the devil wants us to believe because then we are ineffective for God’s Kingdom. Even if you have lost some things or relationships that you can’t get back, you can be restored in your relationship with Jesus. You may not be able to see the way through, but Jesus is there to take you through, to give you a second touch. Ask Him today.


Wednesday, February 16, 2022

A Touch of Enlightenment and Enablement

Wednesday, February 16, 2022 Some material from Time and Miracles

...and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, Do you see anything?"And he looked up and said, "I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around. Then again, He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. Mark 8:23b-25 

Our story this week involves a man who had lost his sight.  No record is given as to how long he had been blind or how his blindness has occurred.  It is merely a description of his condition.  He had some hope for healing when friends took him to Jesus. Yesterday we talked about how Jesus reached out and took the man by his hand – offering a touch of encouragement. Today we learn how Jesus offered a second and third touch – one of enlightenment, and one of enablement.

A Touch of Enlightenment

It is interesting that Jesus spit on the man's eyes and then placed His hands on them.  Jesus did not need the spit to heal, but the man did. The man needed to feel that something was being done to him.  James 2:15-16 says If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, Depart in peace, be warmed and filled, but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 

This man needed to be touched physically to be healed from physical blindness...but also for emotional and spiritual healing.  Our infirmities have the tendency to harden us in order to withstand the judgment and critical eyes of others.  Jesus was healing from the inside and out.  

This second touch enlightened the man’s senses. The man saw men not as they are but as trees walking around. Literally the man could see, but not clearly.  We are too much like this man. We see things but not always clearly.  The tragedy would be to settle for the potential and never realize the actual sight.  "It's a terrible thing not to be able to see. But it is even more terrible to be able to see but have not vision." (Helen Keller) 

When we come to Jesus to be touched, we begin to see ourselves, others and circumstances clearer than ever before but the enlightenment is gradual. Jesus' touch is enlightening but seeing men as trees is never good enough!  Jesus touches the man for a third time.

The Third Touch - Enablement 

Then again, He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored and began to see everything clearly. Mark 8:25 

This blind man was touched three times to enable healing. This third touch from Jesus enabled him to see his world, friends and family clearly!  Not only was the man enabled to see, but he was enabled to walk and live life without the constant need of help from others. 

Jesus then told the man not to go home through Bethsaida. And He sent him to his home, saying, Do not even enter the village. Mark 8:26 The man probably was not from there but had been brought there by friends.  Remember Jesus’ curse on that city?  Jesus did not want him having to deal with the unbelief and cynicism toward Him in that city.  This man could have been in danger had he returned.

Jesus' touch will free us from the constant dependence on people or things (vices).  Enlightened eyes are the beginning of being enabled to overcome addiction, depression, and sin.  Today we need those eyes ... the better to see clearly the things that threaten us.  The world sees nothing wrong with the evils that surround us, but we do!  More than ever we need the touch of enablement to discern properly what is happening on our world. 

Another lesson from this passage is that ministry is disabled when we fail to see clearly what God can do.  The touch of enablement allows us to see ... clearly ... consistently ... continually.  Look for what God is doing!  The man came to Jesus with the help of others.  We may be guilty of not being the kind of friends the blind man had who positioned him for Jesus to help.  As we consider the lives of those around us who are blinded by sin or the lies of Satan, we may find opportunity to lead them out of their Bethsaida to a place where God can reveal Himself to them.  

Then the eyes of those who see will not be blinded, And the ears of those who hear will listen. The mind of the hasty will discern the truth, And the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak clearly. Isaiah 32:3-4

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

A Touch of Encouragement

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

And they came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Jesus and implored Him to touch him. Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village… 
Mark 8:22-23a

A Touch of Encouragement

Our story this week involves a man who had lost his sight.  No record is given as to how long he had been blind or how his blindness has occurred.  It is merely a description of his condition.  He had some hope for healing when friends took him to Jesus. This man is touched three times by Jesus as He heals him, each act fulfilling a specific purpose.  

they” Is the Name of Compassionate People  ... 

Once again we find that special group of people showing up.  The Scriptures tell us that "they", perhaps this man's friends or family, brought him to Jesus.  It is the concept of being a "Stretcher Bearer."  These people had enough faith and action to know that if they could get him to Jesus he could be healed.  The Scriptures say they "implored" (begged) Jesus to touch this man.  Theirs was a shared faith and action.  Do we believe Jesus can still heal and change the lives of people?  

After the request to touch the blind man, Jesus touches him with a touch of encouragement.  "He took the man by the hand and led him outside the town."  Why .... when Jesus usually healed on the spot, ... would he take this man out of the town of Bethsaida?  We might find a hint about his in Matthew 11:20-21.  Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”  

The city of Bethsaida had become too calloused to be touched by Jesus.  Even today there are men with calloused hearts toward the true touch of Jesus.  There are churches with empty altars and no prayers for healing.  God is moving and working among us to touch us and yet we must be in a place that is receptive to His touch.  How sad that someone might not be able to find what they are looking for because we are too calloused to open our hearts and expect Him to work in our midst.  People will encourage their friends to go where they know healing can occur.  This man, thanks to friends, would be the recipient of a touch of encouragement.  As Jesus took this man by the hand to lead him, I believe it was ....  

  • A Personal Touch ... Tender & Loving 

At some point in life our families, friends, and even strangers will need a personal and compassionate touch from us.  Jesus shows us how. Jesus showed an INTEREST in the man.  I'm sure this man was perhaps lonely and discouraged, having to live in darkness.  And now, for this moment, all attention was being given to him.  

The world wants to know if we are interested in them personally.  People really want to know that God loves them and they are looking for that love through you and me. Jesus took the time to touch! Chances are that there was an individual who stopped and listened to you when you came to Christ. 

  • A Patient Touch ... No Hurry 

Hope was born as Jesus took the time for this man.  God is so patient with us!  We live in an "impatient generation."  We stand at the microwave and scream “hurry up!"  With people we seem to have even less patience!  But Jesus was patient and brought a hopeful encouragement to this man.  We must do the same.  It takes time to heal people or help people. 

So we learn from this first touch of Jesus that compassion motivates us to reach out to those who the world passes by.  Those who will help take time to stop and encourage those who have needs.  Think about it. The last help you had given to you was surely by someone who stopped long enough to listen and then encouraged you.  Passing along that compassion can be a blessing to someone in your life today.

I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them And rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, And I will not leave them undone. Isaiah 42:16

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