It says Jesus touched her and she recovered. It was through that gentle touch, Jesus spoke volumes…He voiced love and concern for her…and He spoke health and healing into her body. And it was out of a grateful heart, the woman got up and served Jesus and the rest of the men. Now, you may have never been raised up out of a death-bed before, but the same grateful heart this woman had should be yours. Why you ask? In Romans 5:8 it tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” So in a way you’ve also been raised up from a death-bed…for you were once dead in your sins. But through God’s great love for you, a way was made. And Jesus touched you and made you whole…so how can you be anything but grateful?
King Jehoshaphat was appointing judges for the land…wanting them to realize the seriousness of their positions and the influence they would have over the people. His admonition against bias and prejudice is repeat, I found, within the Oath of Office for the Supreme Court Justices – the highest Court of the land in the USA. The oath reads as follows, ” I,_________, do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as________ under the Constitution and Laws of the United States; and that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” May the fear of the Lord direct them.
The incident happened this Summer while extended family of mine were on vacation. My niece’s teenage son observed a group of teenagers encircled around a little boy…shoving him roughly from one teen to another…all the while taunting him. He felt compelled to step in, so he quietly walked up, put his arm around the boy and asked what they were doing to his little brother. He stood there, firmly telling them to stop and leave… using his sheer size as intimidation…until the gang broke up and moved off. As this young man got done recounting this story to me, I asked him why he thought kids bully others. His insight I thought was remarkable. He told me kids who bully are filled with anger and hurt, and they take out that pain on others. I can dare say as adults, we all fall into two camps…either we were once bullied as a child…or we were that bully. But now with Social Media, the cruelty that can be inflicted by those just wanting to be mean is enormous. As school starts for the year, have a discussion with your kids around the dinner table about bullying…all that it encompasses…and how it feels to be bullied. That just because someone else is cruel doesn’t mean you have to join in. And that being a good friend and loving one another will make a difference.
The Apostle John was warning of false teachers infiltrating the early Church with their deceptive ideas…for they were denying the key fundamentals of Christianity…that Jesus Christ came to earth taking on human flesh – that He was all man and all God. He also warned of their denial of the resurrection – that Jesus was crucified, buried, but rose to life on the third day. So why should we be so surprised today when we hear preaching that just don’t sit well with us. Those same false teachers are alive and well and preaching a “type” of Jesus to the masses. But this corrupted concept of Jesus isn’t true, and doesn’t line up with the Word of God. And if we’d look at the many religions around the world, we’d see many that deny Jesus and His deity all together. But as John explains…the litmus test is simple. Test everything you hear against the Word of God… evaluate for yourself to determine the truth… Listen carefully to the Holy Spirit within.
Everyday we should be celebrating the many blessings from God…for He does things far beyond the bounds of what we think, expect, or can even imagine. Genesis 18:14 goes further to ask, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” But I heard an interesting sermon the other day challenging the idea of just what a blessing was. Do we thank God only for the good things we have, and that happen to us. Or do we praise Him also for all the difficult, uncomfortable, and bad things that come into our lives? How do we know that something meant for bad can’t suddenly be turned around by God for good? For what we see as affliction, can become the way to deeper holiness and sanctification in our life…or what appears to be a difficult situation may turn out to be a godsend in the end. This gives new meaning then to the song “Count your many Blessings”…for we need to praise God for everything that comes into our lives…the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The area of our lives that the devil is most easily able to gain a foothold… is when we have unforgiveness in our hearts. II Corinthians 2:10-11 tells us that we need to forgive in order that Satan might not outwit us. When we harbor unforgiveness, we allow the devil to capture a place in our heart…setting up a position – a base of operations for further advancement against us. We need to remain then vigilant…forgiving and forgetting quickly, so as not to allow him the ability to take advantage over us.
Time was short for the elderly Joshua when he warned the Jewish leaders about being enticed by foreign gods. He wanted them to be fully aware of what the allure and deception of foreign gods could do to the Jewish people. He urged them to remain faithful to the Word of God…persevering with self-discipline in their walk…guarding their hearts and minds from deceit…veering neither to the right nor to the left but always keeping on the straight and narrow. Joshua’s words ring true for God’s people today…Be courageous, keep guard, remain faithful.