Ancient Problems are Here and Now, Too!

November 17, 2022

Psalm 107:16-22 Some became fools through their rebellious ways
    and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
18 They loathed all food
    and drew near the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he saved them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them;
    he rescued them from the grave.
21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings
    and tell of his works with songs of joy.

When you read this portion of the psalm you see the Israelites suffered from illnesses cause by eating disorders and from their own afflictions caused by sin. I was pondering this and the first thing that came to mind was addictions we have today for drugs and alcohol. The eating disorders and the wasting away reminded me of anorexia and bulimia. That these disease and afflictions would be in our present day but addressed in this ancient text shows the depth and applicability of God’s Word. What the psalmist is saying is that God can and does address these problems. If the sufferer cries out to Him, he will be heard. God can and does save people out of addiction each and every day. God can rescue them from the grave so to speak as He breaths life and hope into the individual through faith in Christ. Verse 20 says that God sent out His Word. Jesus is the Word and faith in Jesus will heal and save both physically and spiritually. Those who have been rescued out of these conditions along with their loved ones live lives fill with praise for God’s powerful healing in their lives. Why does God do this? He heals and rescues because He loves us. His love is unfailing unlike human love His is eternal and always full. His is a faithful love that is unconditional and unending. Praise God!

A truth to claim with thanksgiving: I can find grace and mercy in a time of need. This truth is so wonderful. You can claim it with hope in your heart day and night. God is accessible and we can come to him any time or any place. He promises in Deuteronomy 31:6 to never leave us. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” We can have courage for living each day and assurance of His presence with us. Knowing we can come to God in prayer, what can we be assured we will find there in His presence? First of all we can find peace and relief from fear. John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” We are also assured in Hebrews 14:6 of grace and mercy. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” God would not have told us that He has peace, grace and mercy unless He means it! God does not lie. God is truth. You can count upon Him to always be with you, give you peace, grace and mercy exactly when you need it most. Come into His presence today and ask Him for these things. He is faithful and will answer just as He promises.

Are you facing difficulties right now in your life? Do you suffer from an addiction or are you stressed out from the pressures of life? Call upon Him. Come into His presence today and feel His love and support. He has what you need in abundance.

Linda

What Christ endured for me, I’m Humbled by His Love

Today’s ‘put on verse’ will cause you to consider the cost of our sins to our Savior Jesus.

John 19:2 says “The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe.” and 1 Peter 2:24 ““He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

Lent is a time of reflection about our sinfulness and how we can best emulate His character thought the power of the Holy Spirit. Consider what Jesus suffered: the beatings, the trials, the ridicule, the unbelief that what he said was true, the placement with thieves and robbers, and the hanging on the cross with its torture, pain and humiliation. He suffered all of that and in so doing took on the sins of the world- past, present and future. He suffered so we can know Him, be in a relationship with Him, live with Him eternally and have His Holy Spirit living within us. There is nothing we can ever do to earn or deserve that kind of love, devotion and sacrifice. John 3:16 reminds us of Jesus’ motive for going to the cross, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God loved us so much; He sent Jesus to bring us into a right relationship with Him and experience eternal life. Through Christ we can be righteous, holy and pure in God’s eyes because when God looks at us, He sees Jesus’ blood covering our sins. I am amazed and humbled by God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice. He put on the crown of thorns for me and went to the cross. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can live forgiven and restored to a right relationship with Him.

What can I ever do for Him? Remember Jesus saying the greatest commandment and then #2. Matthew 22:34-39 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ When we love God and love others with His love, we honor Him=He is glorified.

Also consider Micah 6:8 “And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.”
We cannot act with justice, love, mercy and humility without the power of the Holy Spirit within us. So lean into Him, ask His help through prayer, learn about Him from His Word, join other believers in worship and fellowship and seek to show others your love for Jesus.

Linda

A Hole in the Roof leads to Blessings

And the journey continues…. into the gospel of Mark. One of the stories I love from the book of Mark is also found in Matthew 9 and Luke 5. Mark 2:1-12 shows a scene where Jesus is preaching to a packed house and some friends bring their paralyzed friend to see Jesus. “When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” 12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”

There are several things I love about this story. First, the friends moved heaven and earth, so to speak, to get their friend to Jesus. They knew that Jesus had the power to heal him. They went above and beyond to get their friend into the meeting place. They were creative and resourceful by digging through the roof and lowering the man through the hole they had created. It was not an easy task I’m sure. Who do you know that needs Jesus’ healing power? Are you persistent in trying to ‘get’ them somewhere to hear the gospel message? I am reminded of Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Are you like the friends in this story? You know Jesus and what He has to offer. Are you desperately trying to share it with your unsaved friends? God desires that we share the wonderful benefits provided by Jesus, as everyone needs Jesus!

Secondly, the group of religious naysayers took objection at Jesus telling the man ‘his sins are forgiven’. Jesus countered with the words he could just as easily have said ‘take up your mat and walk’. When you think about it, both are things only God can do! Only God can forgive sins and only God can heal a paralyzed man so that he can immediately jump up and walk out carrying his mat! It seems they were offended by Jesus’ words declaring them to be blasphemous. They were upset as forgiveness was God’s to grant, not his. However, they failed to see that He was God and was doing things that only God could do!

Lastly, Mark observed that all were stunned as they watched the events unfold and were amazed. Their amazement led to worship and praise of God. What has been your reaction to God’s hand in your life? Is your response one of praise and thanksgiving?

May you see with fresh eyes today the amazing riches you have in Christ. May you seek with persistence to bring others to Jesus. May you marvel anew at the power of Christ to heal and forgive.

Linda

I AM your Healer

The children of Israel were fresh out of Egypt and had just come through the parted Red Sea.  Moses was leading them through the desert towards Mt Sinai in Exodus 15.  They had been three days without fresh water and the water they found was bitter. They began grumbling to Moses and accused him of bringing them out into the desert to die.  Moses cried out to the Lord and the Lord showed him a piece of wood and instructed him to throw it into the bitter water.   The water miraculously became sweet and they could quench their thirst.   The Lord took this opportunity to remind the Israelites of His Covenant with them.  There the Lord made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, 26 saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.” Exodus 15:25-26   God promised to be their healer if they would listen and obey.  Later in Deuteronomy Moses reminded the Israelites of God’s promises to them after the 40 years in the wilderness.  14 You shall be blessed above all peoples.  15 And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you knew, will he inflict on you, but he will lay them on all who hate you. ” exodus-15-vs-26 (1)Deuteronomy 7:14-15   They were following God’s pathway into a desert and God promised to keep them well.  Through obedience they would not suffer diseases they had had while in Egypt nor would the be sick on the journey.  I AM your Healer.  The Hebrew is Jehovah Rapha- the God who heals.

Where do you need God to be your healer today?  Do you have relationships that have fallen apart, are you ill in mind or body, are you lonely or heart broken?   God promises to be our healer if we turn to Him in faith.  Here are some verses to encourage you today to greater faith in our Healing God.

healing promisePsalm 103:2-3 “Bless the Lord, O my soul,  and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,  who heals all your diseases,”

Psalm 147:3  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Let the Lord be your healer today- He alone is the God who Heals.

Linda

 

 

Seeking Heart relief from God

Two heart verses spoke to me this morning.  Knowing our hearts are deceitful and driven by original sin, God promises to do a work in our hearts that is amazing.  trust-pope francis qutoeProverbs 3:5-6 is a well quoted verse that speaks of God’s power to lead and guide if we will trust and acknowledge Him in our lives. Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
 do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do,  and he will show you which path to take.”   God is the one with the transforming power in our lives if we will seek to know and trust Him.   My second verse is found in  psalm 34 18Psalm 34:18 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
    He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”  David wrote these words during a very difficult time in his life.  He knew God. He knew He would hear his cries for help.  He knew God would and could rescue him.  He knew from experience that God was near to him when his heart was broken and his spirit crushed.   David knew God and had experienced His love and care during times of great need.  

God knows our hearts and sees what we need even before we ask for help.  God knows our desire for guidance and He alone has the power to mend our broken hearts and crushed spirit.   Seek Him like David did and lay your sorrows, hurts and needs before Him.  He promises that those who seek Him will find Him.  Moses told the children of Israel just  before they entered the Promised Land, “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  Deuteronomy 4:29   God promises to be found if we seek with and God doesn't failopen heart.  Seek Him today and tell Him about your broken heart, your crushed spirit or your desire to be guided by Him.  God can and will answer your prayers, just as He promised.

Seeking His comfort and jclinging to His promise as I  walk with Him daily,

Linda