“THE TOUCH”

I read a familiar story in the Bible this morning about the woman that had the issue of blood for twelve years. I noticed a few interesting things as I looked at the story again. The scripture says that many pressed Him, or touched Jesus as He was walking through the crowd. Have you ever wondered who all the people were that had touched Him and what their needs might have been? I don’t think the women the issue of blood was the only one in the mix that was looking for a miracle. One by one, hands began to touch the Master as He walked gracefully through the crowd with a variety of sicknesses and diseases that day. He felt the touch of everyone but continued to progress on His journey.

However, something different happened when this woman with the issue of blood touched Him.

Luke 8:45-48 (ESV)
45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!”
46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.”
47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.
48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

So many were there that day needing Jesus to touch them, but only one really knew how to make contact with Him. The crowd reached for Him, but just this woman moved Him and caused Him to stop and respond. It’s very plain why her touch was different than the others. Jesus said, “YOUR FAITH HAS MADE YOU WELL.” I don’t know what the others were thinking that day when they reached out to Jesus, but I know when this woman touched Him with faith, He felt it and reacted.

There are all kinds of needs today and a lot of people reaching out to Him. If you’re one that is in need of a miracle, my question to you is this; I know you want to feel His touch, but can He feel your faith touching Him?

“WHERE HOPE LIES”

In my family, I’m the designated Santa, with the exception that everyone is old enough to know the truth about his identity. If I just ruined that for you, I’m sorry. As I fight the crowds and sit in traffic, I listened to a lot of Christmas music. We have our favorites, and for me, I still love the classics. Not just because they’re so well written and produced, but it takes me back to when I was a kid. I can turn on “East Tennessee Christmas” by Chet Atkins, or “The Twelve Songs Of Christmas” by Jim Reeves and go right back to being a child again and remembering some great times.

As you get a little older, those songs become bittersweet, especially when some of the faces start to disappear from the family portrait. I’m certainly not trying to make anyone sad, but if you’ve lost someone in your life, Christmas starts to become a little harder to get through. I tend to get melancholy listening to those songs; Maybe that’s why I do a lot of Christmas shopping by myself. To fight it off, I turn my attention to my kids and how important it is to make great memories for them. I can’t let the pain of the past mess up their excitement in the present.

The truth is, Christmas is about a baby born in a manger, delivered by Mary and called Jesus. He was Emmanuel, which means, “God With Us.” He’s the reason for this amazing season, and most importantly why we have salvation. In the long list of what that baby means to us, mine would have to be the word “HOPE.” Because of Jesus, we have hope. Hope is that lighthouse that stands in the night, shining a beacon to those who are in danger. Hope is the shelter where you can run to and find safety in the storm. Hope is the pillar, the rock, and the foundation you can trust in. It is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. For me, that’s what was lying in the manger that glorious night.

As this life starts to fade and the world daily becomes a more fearful place to live, we must go back to where it all started; the manger, where hope lies. That’s all I have when I seeing it raining on the just and the unjust. When I look at unfair things happening to good people, I have to go back to the manger. For the unanswered situations that so many are in right now, all I can do is return to where it all started. As I long to see and embrace precious family members that have already gone, my hope is that I will see them again one day, so I go back to the manger.

No matter what any of us are facing today, our hope is not in the doctor, the politician, or even money; our hope is still in the same place it was nearly two-thousand years ago.

Luke 2:12 (ESV)
And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

“PLANS AND PURPOSE”

 

*God will show you the way, but will not force you to take it.

 

*He will lead and guide, but you have to choose to follow.

 

*The one who is in control will only take over what you surrender.

 

I woke up this morning with these thoughts going through my mind. God, who is almighty and all-powerful allows us to decide if we want Him to be in charge of our lives. He will intervene, but not interfere. He lets us know that He is there but will only stand at the door knock and wait to see if we will answer and let Him in. For those who choose to ignore His guidance in their lives may experience success, but will never achieve their complete potential.

 

Proverbs 19:20-21 (ESV)
20 Listen to advice and accept instruction,
that you may gain wisdom in the future.
21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

 

God’s purpose must come before our plans. Make sure today that you’re plans have God in control so that He may lead, guide, and show you the right way to go.

“SUNDAY’S PRAYER”

Would you join me in a prayer today for those who need strength? I am referring to both physical and spiritual. As I sit with my mom each day in the hospital, there is a team of physical therapists that come in and help her with a few exercises daily to build up her strength. What was easy for her two months ago is exceptionally challenging now, so I pray for God to give her strength to walk and do many other things again that she use to be able to do. I know she’s not the only one today that is needing help in that area. Many others are recovering from diverse situations and need our prayers.

It’s not only physical strength that someone is lacking, but I believe there are a lot of people needing spiritual strength as well. Maybe their faith is weak, or perhaps the trial they’re going through is wearing them down to a shallow point. It could also be someone that has recently endured a storm, and even though they are out of that condition, it took all of their energy just to survive. There are so many things that I could write about that can cause us to become weak and weary, but no matter what the reason is, we need to pray for God to provide strength to each one in need today.

If you’re that person, let me encourage you with this. Instead of focusing on what made you weak, put your faith in the one that can lift you up today and restore your strength. It doesn’t matter how you got here, what’s important is moving away from here. Lift up your head and be inspired because somebody is praying for you and your health, energy, and strength is coming back.

 

JOEL 3:10

LET THE WEAK SAY “I AM STRONG”!!!

“PEACE-MAKERS”

Jesus said, Blessed, are the peace-makers. True peace-makers know what and when to fight. All of their efforts go into bringing peace in the midst of chaos. They don’t fight for an agenda, they fight for resolve. Doing what is right is more important to them than being right. They’re not driven by ego, they’re working for unity. They understand that God will bless those that pursue peace and harmony in their family, church, work, and relationships. For the peace-maker, the blessings of God are more important than proving a point. Imagine the change in our world if we had more peace-makers.

“GIVE THANKS TO GOD”

1 Chronicles 16:34

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

 

Our THANKS to God is based on who He is and not in our circumstances. So many things change in life, but two things remain the same;

*GOD IS GOOD
*GOD’S LOVE ENDURES FOREVER

Be encouraged today and remember His goodness and His love.

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

“ALIGNED”

Colossians 3:2 (ESV)
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

This scripture is a reminder that our thoughts should be on things that are eternal and not temporary. Nothing on this earth will last forever, but what is above it will. Our hope is not in this world but far above it is a place Jesus said He was preparing for us.

To set your mind means to have it aligned with something. Paul is telling us to have our minds aligned with what is above and not on the earth. He is encouraging us to align our thoughts and plans with what will last forever and not fade away. Be aware of where you are, but stay aligned with where you’re going.

So what are you aligned with today? Are you living on the earth, or have you aligned yourself with it? Is all your affections and plans wrapped up in your life here in this world? Let me remind you that those who are in Christ Jesus are not at home on this earth. We are aware of where we are, but we are aligned with where we’re going. Maybe you’re out of alignment and need to be reminded of what is above. Take some time today to make the necessary adjustments to get your thoughts back on track.

“TIME, SEASONS, AND TEARS”

There are so many things in this life that cause us to cry. From the start of our lives on earth, until we depart, there are a lot of tears shed. Every one of them tells a story. Most of them of sadness, hurt, and pain. It has been said that tears have a language of their own, and how true that is because it’s hard to say anything when you’re crying. God knows everything we’re saying when we are weeping. He knows our thoughts and the intent of our hearts, and when He sees us crying, He understands what we’re going through and what caused the tears to fall. No matter what they are expressing, God knows, and not one tear goes uncounted or unknown.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon lets us know, there is a time to weep. That means, there is a beginning and an ending. In other words, tears are connected to specific seasons we go through in this life. The thing about a season is, though it ends, it will come back again. Our crying may subside, but when it is linked to something that has hurt us, most likely, the tears will return when the season does. The recurring times of falling tears are something all of us has to deal with while on this journey of life. I’m not trying to be pessimistic; I’m just reminding everyone of what can be expected. While living under the sun, time and seasons are unavoidable.

There is one more thing I would like to say; DON’T GET USED TO CRYING. I know that may sound opposite of my last paragraph, but let me explain. When the Bible says, “There Is A Time To Cry” you have to understand that it is referring to our season of life. You and I will only cry while we are living on this earth. There is coming a day when time, seasons, and tears will no longer be spoken of. They will have no part or purpose. You’ll never see a calendar in Heaven. We will not talk about preparing for the upcoming season, and nothing will ever happen that will cause us to cry. Once we arrive, Jesus will stop the tears from falling and declare they are unwelcome. Here’s how I know this to be true.

Revelation 21:4 (ESV)
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

The language of tears will never be spoken in Heaven. We may cry now, BUT DON’T GET USED TO IT.

“KNOW WHAT YOU’RE BUILDING”

This week I’ve been writing a lot about prayer and how essential it is in our lives. I’ve referred to it as building a prayer life. The reason I use the word building is because a prayer life doesn’t come already assembled, it has to be developed one step at a time. It doesn’t happen by request but through a process. From the foundation to the completion, it takes time, patience, and commitment to build a prayer life that will last.

Another reason I refer to it in that way is because in the Old Testament they called it “Building An Altar.” They built something literal that represents something spiritual for us today. In fact, the greatest patriarchs of that time built altars. The first thing Abraham did when God called him out of his homeland was made an altar. Then Paul comes along in the New Testament and tells us we should offer ourselves as a living sacrifice on the altar. Romans 12:1

Since the altar is our prayer life, after studying it, I found that it represents two things.

1. COMMUNICATION

2. TO SLAY OR KILL

So, as you are building your prayer life, understand that it starts with communication between you and God. You are simply talking to Him, and He responds through His Word and His Spirit. Communication is imperative in building any relationship. Through conversation, you begin learning more about the person you are talking to. If all you ever do is ask someone for something all the time, that is not communicating, that is consistent requesting and can be perceived as selfish. It’s the same with us. If the only time we talk with God is when we need something, we aren’t really communicating with Him. Don’t get me wrong, our God wants to meet our needs and is ready and able to respond, but to grow in the knowledge of who He is, we must learn how to approach Him with more than issues we need Him to take care of. Why not spend some time with Him today and just thank Him for who He is. Leave all the request for another time and just come before Him with thanksgiving.

The second thing the altar represents is to slay or kill. In the Old Testament, the altar was used to bring animals as a sacrifice unto God. It was a place of slaying and killing. As I said earlier, Paul admonishes us in the New Testament to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. This means that building an altar, or a prayer life is a place where we communicate with God, but we also slay our will so we can do His will. Some people communicate well, but they’ve yet to die on the altar. You may be talking to God, but He will only respond when we slay ourselves and surrender to what He wants to do in our lives. I would encourage you to pray as Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. He not only communicated with the Father, but He offered Himself by saying, “NEVERTHELESS, NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS BE DONE.”

If you know God wants to do something in your life but you’re not sure what it is, perhaps you need to move from talking to Him to offering yourself on the altar. Maybe you have some things in the way that needs to die before you can hear Him give you specific instructions. As you communicate you get to learn about Him, but when you present yourself as a sacrifice, you will begin knowing Him in a way like never before. Communicating connects you to God, offering yourself to Him sends you to fulfill His will.

“SUNDAY’S PRAYER”

I have been asking the Lord to direct me to what today’s prayer should be. My request might sound a little different than usual, but I feel strongly about the topic. I would like for you to join me in praying for those who struggle with anger. I’m not just talking about someone who gets irritated and makes a mistake now and then, but specifically, those who lose control and end up in a rage. It’s a spirit that causes people to say and do things they end up regretting. It not only leads a person to self-destruction, but it can potentially destroy so many other relationships while on that path.

Today, I want us to pray for those who are bound by these chains, to be completely set free in Jesus name. I believe our prayers will make a difference because I feel like there is a marriage getting ready to be destroyed if this spirit isn’t conquered. I don’t know who or where that couple is, but I hope this blog and our prayers reach them before it’s too late.

The spirit of anger that I’m referring to will become your natural reaction to situations if it’s not overcome. You will feel bad early on, but after a while, you’ll start using your anger to deal with your regret. When someone gets to that point, it is dangerous. You will no longer guard your tongue or your actions. Whatever you want to say or do when that spirit takes over, you will end up heeding. Remember this; anger is just the starting point because you can’t predict what a person is going to do when they get into a fit of rage.
WE MUST JOIN TOGETHER AND PRAY AGAINST THIS SPIRIT!!!

If you’re someone that is battling this spirit, you probably won’t respond to this blog, and you don’t have to. However, if you want deliverance from it and you’re tired of what it’s doing in your life and others, know that we are praying for complete freedom for you. Believe that before this day is over, you will hear the sound of broken chains falling on the ground. Also, don’t leave this all up to us, you must do your part too. Here are some things you can do for healing and complete deliverance.

* Join in earnest prayer
* Confess that you are bound by the spirit of anger
* Submit yourself to someone for Godly counsel and accountability

James 1:19-20 (ESV)
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.