Perpetual Healing for the Child of God

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The Bible tells me that Jesus came to heal the sick, to seek and save that which is lost,  to save the sinner. One reference to this awesome reality is found in Mark chapter two, verse 17:

“When Jesus heard this, He told them, ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

I am sick. My heart tells me this and the Bible confirms it.  And I want to get better, I want to be well, so I try really hard.  It isn’t helping.  To those around me, I look pretty healthy.  But, inside I have sin tumors. And they hurt me.  They hurt others.  They are deadly.

I’ve tried to heal myself.  I’ve tried to remove them so often.  Other times, I’ve exalted them in false humility and paraded them in rebellious displays.

As a child of God, tumors filled with pride press me to self-help, self-pity, self-denial, self-exaltation.  These hidden tumors compel me to analyze and diagnose the whys, so as to manufacture a believable case to explain away my foul thoughts and selfish motives.  These are the things that make me sick.  These are the things no one sees, but God.  He sometimes shows them to me, too.

I am appalled; (How could I…?).  Pride tumors press harder, insulting me.

I am so ashamed as I admit my guilt; and I’m embarrassed; (What will everyone think?).
I’m scared; (Will I be rejected? Despised? Condemned?).
I’m so desperate; (I need help!).
So I respond.

I must cover.
I must hide.
I must fix it all.
I must make it all go away.
Or, just pretend I didn’t see and make believe God doesn’t see either.

I am sick; this I know.  And, I have no remedy, not in my own power.  In fact, no human power, or skill, or treatment can remove what ails my sick heart.  No therapist, no medication, no surgeon, no behavior modification, no diet, no magic words, and especially, no pretending.  I need the Healer!  I need Jesus!

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

And, I need the Holy Spirit to guide me and enable me to follow Jesus.

This is my healing–to confess I am sick and in desperate need of God’s help to die to myself, my ways, my reasoning, my reputation, and choose to live for the Healer, through the Healer, and in the power of the Healer.

In my humble obedience He makes me well. One step at a time. Together.

By Dana Lange

He Wiped Out The Handwriting

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I grab a pen and a pile of paper. I am going to write down my sins, one by one. One piece of paper for each sin.

I close my eyes. I should pause in prayer before I begin this seemingly impossible task. Instead of opening my eyes after I pray, they stay glued shut. This IS impossible. So I imagine…

I imagine picking up the pen and writing on the first paper: Today, I lost my temper with my kids.
Then, the second: As a little girl, I was jealous of my pretty friend.
The third: Yesterday, I wished I had a bigger house.
The fourth: Sunday, I blamed my husband for things that were my responsibility.

I quickly realize, there are not enough hours to compile every single sinful act. So my mental scribbles become one or two big words on each paper:

Wanting More.
Ignoring God.
Ugly Words.

My mind runs out of paper. But just as well; paper could no longer hold the weight of the words. I imagine writing the rest on huge stones:

Envy.
Disobedience.
Complacency.
Laziness.
Arrogance.
Selfishness.

I can’t do this anymore. I imagine my desk covered with papers. They are falling onto the floor, pressing up against the walls and pouring out the windows like an avalanche. The huge stones have shattered my mirrors and cracked the tile floors.

My heart feels heavy under the weight of all the words; under the weight of all my sin. But God shouts through the condemnation:

‘And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.’ -Colossians 2:13-14 (NKJV)

My eyes feel as if they will never open again. I can’t miss what God is about to show me.

A man is coming.  He is collecting my papers…one by one.

A man is coming.  He lifts the heaving stones and carries them on His back.

There is something else on His back too.

A cross.

He leaves my house.  He goes to my neighbors and does the same thing. They have a collection of papers and stones… just like me.

There are a few neighbors who don’t want Him to clean out their house. They sit atop their stones grasping their mass of papers and weep.

It breaks my heart.  I know it breaks His more.

Now the man begins His climb up the hill.  I know the story. You know the story.  He carries His cross.  I imagine Him carrying the heavy stones and every single piece of paper with it’s scribble of black sin, too.  He doesn’t drop one…not a single one.

He grips my written sin as the soldiers hammer the first nail through His hand.  Flesh is pierced; paper is torn.
My selfishness: Nailed to the cross.
My arrogance: Nailed to the cross.
My apathy: Nailed to the cross.
Blood flows, drenching the papers in His hand, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against me.
The truth… I watch every single sin of my life being nailed to the cross.
He took it all away, having nailed it to the cross.
He took it all away.
He took it all away.
He took it all away.
Amen.

Oh.  So what happened to the stones?
The only stone I see is the stone that was rolled away.

By Jenna Masters

He is Risen Indeed!

 

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The passing away of a family member who loves Jesus makes the promises of Easter all the more dear to the heart. My daughter-in-law recently lost her mom to cancer. I was in Washington with my son and daughter-in-law when her mom passed away. Her family had all gathered by her side the day before in sweet fellowship with their mom and their dad’s wife. I could hug my daughter-in-law and rejoice with her that her mom was now with Jesus and no longer in pain and suffering from the cancer that had ravaged her small body. Her mom is now face-to-face with her Savior!

I am so thankful for the promise of Galatians 3:13:

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us.”

God’s love for us is so deep! It is so deep that He sent His Son to pay the cost for our freedom with His very blood. We have been redeemed—bought back—restored to God—because Jesus willingly laid down His life for us!

“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds we are healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

“But He was pierced for our transgression, He was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that has brought us peace was upon Him.” Isaiah 53:5-6

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

As Easter draws near, I am filled with thankfulness and gratitude at the hope of one day being in the presence of my Savior. Jesus has conquered death! We have eternal life to look ahead to with our Savior and Lord! One day I will be reunited with friends and family who have gone before me! I am redeemed, made righteous in Him, and have been filled with His peace that overcomes the world! God’s people are blessed beyond measure! We have been given an eternal gift!

May you, too, be blessed this Easter as you pull back from the noise of the world and meditate on Good Friday—the day Jesus laid His life down for our sins—followed by the first Easter morning—Christ’s defeat over death by His resurrection! Hallelujah, the grave could not contain Him! The grave cannot and will not be able to contain us either! It is indeed “Resurrection Sunday”!

By Pat Tingwall

Tale of Three

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 JUDAS ISCARIOT, the Impostor

“‘When Judas, who had betrayed Him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse.  So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders.  ‘I have sinned,’ he declared, ‘for I have betrayed an innocent man.’  ‘What do we care?’ they retorted.  ‘That’s your problem.’  Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.”  Matthew 27:3-5 (NLT)

Judas was called.  He was chosen to be one of the twelve disciples, those closest to Jesus, the ones who would be entrusted to carry the Good News of Salvation to the world.  Not only did he look like them, but he enjoyed a position of trust.  He was the treasurer; he carried the money.  Those who followed Jesus may well have seen him as very important…a leader…a person of influence.  So close, yet so far away that he would betray Jesus for money.  When he realized the sin of betrayal he threw back the bribe price and went out and hanged himself.  It appears his association with Jesus was all for “show.”  His heart never heard the message of Love.  Instead of repenting and going to Jesus for forgiveness and mercy, he made the choice to end his life.

SIMON PETER, the Impulsive

Simon Peter, one of the three disciples who Jesus invited to pray with Him during the most intimate hours of His life before execution.  Simon was impressive.  His size attracted attention.  He was big, capable and enthusiastic…pretty sure of his capabilities.  He was a man with great spiritual discernment one moment, followed by foot-in-mouth disease the next.  Remember when he, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, declared that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16-17)?  Jesus commended his testimony, declaring that He would build His church on that truth.  Then, when Jesus began to tell them He would suffer and die for their sins, Peter’s foot couldn’t get into his mouth fast enough!

“But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand Him for saying such things.  ‘Heaven forbid, Lord,’ he said.  ‘This will never happen to you!’  Jesus turned to Peter and said, ‘Get away from me, Satan!  You are a dangerous trap to me.  You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”  Matthew 16:22-23 NLT

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat.  But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail.  So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”  Luke 22:31-32 (NLT)

“Peter said to Him, ‘Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.’  Jesus replied, ‘I tell you he truth, Peter–this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.’  ‘NO!’  Peter declared emphatically.  ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you.”  Mark 14:29-31a (NLT)

“So they arrested Him and led Him to the high priest’s home.  And Peter followed at a distance.  The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there.  A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him.  Finally she said, ‘This man was one of Jesus’ followers!’  But Peter denied it.  ‘Woman,’ he said, ‘I don’t even know him!’  After awhile someone else looked at him and said, ‘You must be one of them!’  ‘No, man I’m not!’ Peter retorted.  About an hour later someone else insisted, ‘This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.’  But Peter said, ‘Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.’  And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.  At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter.  Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind:  ‘Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.’  And Peter left the courtyard weeping bitterly.”  Luke 22: 54-62 (NLT)

“When they entered the tomb, they (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome) saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side.  The women were shocked, but the angel said, ‘Don’t be alarmed.  You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He isn’t here!  He is risen from the dead!  Look, this is where they laid His body.  Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee.  You will see Him there, just as He told you before He died.”  Mark 16:5-7

Simon Peter…so capable…so enthusiastic to declare the faith, yet so in the moment.  Acting without being led, action without surrender.  It took the brokenness of his denial of Jesus and Jesus’ acknowledgement of that act, for him to go off and search his soul.  Knowing the depth of his anguish, Jesus sought him out to restore him, to woo him back to reconciliation.  Peter responded.  He made the choice to repent and ultimately be made a powerful vessel for truth.

JOHN, the Beloved

“Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw His mother standing there beside the disciple He loved, He said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.’  And He said to this disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’  And from then on this disciple took her into his home.”  John 19:26-27 (NLT)

In his Gospel, John wrote of himself in the third person, “the one who Jesus loved.”  His account of the suffering of Jesus on the cross indicates that he returned to the place of crucifixion after taking Mary to his home.   He was the only disciple to remain with Jesus through His arrest, interrogation, torture and crucifixion.

“(This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account.  He speaks the truth so that you also can believe.)”  John 19:35 (NLT)

John loved Jesus, not his own life.  He stayed near when it was a peril to his life to do so.  He stayed near even when his world was caving in.  His hopes for Jesus, for the ministry, all dying on the cross.

These three have made me think about my own life and where I stand with Jesus in my daily choices.  Do I look like a godly woman but have an inward attitude that renders me spiritually dead?  Do I profess to be Jesus’ friend but have my own agenda and go off to do something before I hear the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit directing me which way I should go?  Or…do I love Jesus so much that I will stay with Him even when things are falling apart in my life?

All of the disciples were within hearing distance when Jesus said He must suffer and die but would rise again after three days.  It was a promise that should have encouraged them through the darkest hour mankind would ever witness.  What promises are we forgetting that should get us through our darkest hour?

It has been said, ‘Death died with the Resurrection.”   God has demonstrated His great power over life and death.  May each one of us remember that He keeps His promises and may His Holy Spirit strengthen, guide and encourage us anew through each day.

He is Risen!
He is Risen Indeed!

by Marilyn Allison

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