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Archive for March, 2012

Anticipating the help we seek from Jesus Christ can also be frightening either because of our own concerns or because the sense of urgency with which we seek Him seems so ominous.  Such were the situations for two people in Mark 5.  First, the woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years (Mark 5:24-34), desperately needed Jesus’ healing touch and was clearly frightened when Jesus recognized that “healing power” had gone out from him.  (Mark 5:30).  But Jesus didn’t seek to locate her in the crowd out of anger; rather His request was to affirm her faith and willingness to risk.

At the time of this interruption in Jesus’ day, He was actually traveling to the home of a Jairus, one of the leaders in the local synagogue.  Jairus had sought Jesus’ service to heal his young daughter who was dying.  (Mark 5:21-25, 35-43).  While it could have been a time when the interruption by the woman served to distract Jesus from His mission, we are reminded that Jesus never forgets what He is about.  He is about serving and offering God’s loving grace through the acts of service, including the healing of a child.  Jairus was reminded by Jesus not to be afraid, but to trust.

For us today, we too can be reminded that when we call on Jesus Christ, He is willing and openly will offer the acts of service we need to draw us to the Throne of Grace for a healing touch.  We don’t have to be afraid He will get distracted from that purpose, but rather we can trust Jesus today.  We can count on Him to serve at the center of our need.  Step out in faith today—reach for the hem of His garment and you will discover Jesus Christ will serve you in that step of faith.

 

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“Moved with pity,” Jesus touched him.  “I want to,” he said. “Be healed!” Instantly the leprosy disappeared—the man was healed.  Then Jesus sent him on his way and told him sternly, “Go right over to the pries and let him examine you.  Don’t talk to anyone along the way.  …” But as the man went on his way, he spread the news, telling everyone what had happened to him.  As a result, such crowds soon surrounded Jesus that he couldn’t enter a town anywhere publicly.  Mark 1:41-45

I can so identify with this man who was healed of leprosy.  Good things happen and I can’t wait to tell someone—whether about a moment of joy with my grandson, an exciting new client, or my own healing from years of physical pain and suffering.  I can’t keep good news to myself.  How about you?

However, even as I admit that, I recognize there are many times the good news I fail to share is the news of healing done to my heart by the love of my Lord God.  Hmm…today I will reflect on His healing touch to my heart, my mind, my relationships, my physical body and that will be the thrust of my sharing.

Will you join me in spreading the Good News of how Jesus Christ’s service in your life has brought a healing touch?

Oh, Lord God, I am quick to tell others exciting news about some daily happening in my life.  Open my mouth to be just as quick to share about those many little ways You serve me every day smoothing troubled waters in my life.  Thank you Lord God for so many aspects of Your service I take for granted—from the ways you keep me safe as I drive, to making certain I have a home, plenty of food, strength and energy to handle the challenges as I meet with clients….so much Lord that I am humbled when I stop to consider all You do.  Let me first of all acknowledge with gratitude the many ways You shower me with Your love and then Lord, help me to open my mouth to share the Good News of Your care with others today.  Amen.

 

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“But among you it should be quite different.  Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave.  For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”  (Matthew 20:26-28)

A carpenter.  Not a profession of one considered a leader in our society today and certainly not considered a leader some two thousand years ago.  Yet, Jesus Christ did not allow His profession to define Him or limit His life’s mission and purpose.  Jesus Christ certainly would have been able to use His abilities as a carpenter as He traveled around the region.  We are not told that He didn’t.  Yet, with that professional background what we do know is that He would have approached each situation seeking to repair, heal, improve or otherwise mend hearts and lives—from the same kind of heart that carpenters operate from.  Carpenters serve others.  Carpenters seek to mend, improve, make beautiful or repair broken items, or, begin from scratch to create something new.  Carpenters serve.

Jesus Christ was a constant example that we can continue to look to as One who served and through His service others were lead to discover wholeness, healing love.

Wherever God places you today, serve with the strength and spirit of that long ago carpenter, Jesus Christ, and you too will be instrumental in helping others discover eternal grace and love.

 

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The newspaper headline that day could have easily read “Small Sacrifices Saves Many from Hunger,”  for surely taking 5 loaves of bread and two fish would have been seen as a small sacrifice, but to learn that sacrifice resulted in more than 5,000 people were fed would have made the local nightly news.  (Matthew 14: 15-21).

So, it is often with story after story related through the Gospels of how Jesus took what a person offered and used it to result in great benefit for those around.  Whether it was the widow who put two pence in the offering or loaves and fishes, Jesus takes what we willingly surrender and uses it to offer His love to hurting people.

Sometimes, I think I don’t have much to give…yet, not once has Jesus rejected what I offered.  Nor, have I ever found that what I was offered was inadequate, useless, or that it failed to produce a positive result in the life of another.  Whatcan you offer today—perhaps a smile, perhaps a kind word, or perhaps it is an act of service or sacrifice that seems meager but that your Lord Jesus Christ will use to work a miracle of love in the life of another.

 

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“A vast crowd was there as He stepped from the boat, and He had compassion on them and healed their sick.”  Matthew 14:14

In the verses just before the reference above, we are told that Jesus was hurting from the death of his friend and cousin, John the Baptist.  He had withdrawn to a “remote area to be alone.”  (Matt 14:13).  But, the crowds so hungered for what they knew they could only received from Jesus that they followed.

Are there times when we want to be alone…to withdraw to a remote area for rest, respite or perhaps re-generation of our mind or heart?  Yet, we sense an obligation or a duty is thrust on us that we don’t want to accept or fulfill?  I know I have experienced those times and I suspect you have too.  So, how do we keep going?  How do we keep serving, sacrificing our time, talents or even offer words of encouragement when we are hurting?

Jesus “had compassion” (Matthew 14:14).  Compassion is defined as Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.”  Only Jesus Christ could provide the healing that would eliminate the suffering of those who followed Him that day.  So it still is today.  Only Jesus Christ working in and through us can eliminate the suffering we personally may be experiencing and only through allowing Him to work through us……through me…using hands, feet, gifts and talents, will those who He allows to interact with me today see Him as the answer to eliminate their suffering and heal their wounds.

Let our motivation to reach out to the hurting world around us today be the same motivation Jesus Christ felt all those many years ago—compassion—a deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with a deep desire to relieve it.

Oh Lord God, let me see the world with Your eyes of compassion today.  Show me where You want to use me to lessen suffering, pain, and offer a healing word of encouragement.  Keep my heart soft and filled with Your love today.  Amen. 

 

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Every bridal couple is challenged during the preparation for their wedding by the decisions related to how much food, beverages and paper products to order based on the number of people who RSVP to the wedding invitation.  Caterers face a similar challenge.  I remember attending a wedding many years ago where all the food was gone before the bride and groom even arrived from taking pictures.  They were extremely embarrassed and uncomfortable, and so was the caterer.

But there was a wedding where there could have been just such embarrassment but Jesus Christ stepped in the moment and met the need by turning water into wine—in fact, saving the very best wine for last raising the esteem of the bridal parents in the estimation of the guests.  It has always interested me that Jesus Christ’s first miracle (John 2) was at a wedding…a time of celebration and joy.  Jesus had already begun his ministry as we are told “Jesus and his disciples” (John 2:2) were also invited to the celebration.  Yet, He took time to enjoy and celebrate with friends and family.  Despite that being a celebration, Jesus still served.

Doesn’t our time with the Lord Jesus Christ begin with a celebration?  Scripture refers to us as “the bride” of Christ.  (Revelation, chapters 19-22).  Yet, Jesus just as that wedding day at Cana, meets our celebration with service and sacrifice.  Jesus gave His life that we might know joy and the celebration of eternal life.  (John 3:16).

This week, as we begin the preparation for Easter and close out the Lenten season, we will consider how Jesus drew people to God’s loving grace through His service and sacrifices.  Through it all, may we be challenged to remember that His service and sacrifice was so others might discover God’s irresistible appeal.  Perhaps today, you will have a lighter heart and a spirit of celebration as you recognize that your service and sacrifice will serve the same purpose—that is drawing others to Jesus’ irresistible loving appeal.  And, oh, isn’t it true that just as Jesus must have felt—we pray our service and sacrifices will result in eternal celebrations like a wedding festival!

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.  Rev 22:17

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For even the Son of Man did not come to be served,

but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:45

Jesus modeled service as a means of worship and praise.  Jesus Christ didn’t offer service out of duty or obligation, but love.

As this month of considering service and sacrifice concludes let me briefly consider all the Real Women who have shared their stories about sacrifice and service as a means of grace.  Consider the interviews with Real Women who have sacrificed and served others through a spouse in the military, the death of a child, coping with chronic or disabling health challenges, and the young women who shared the women out of history who inspire them to give generously their time to others.   This week, prayerfully, you have looked at the acts of service and sacrifice of Real Women of Scripture a little differently.

May these insights and challenges encourage your heart to open yourself for the service opportunities the Lord God places in your path—large or small acts.  God can and will use all that you freely offer to draw others to His love.  Thank you for giving today because not only does someone else need what you have to offer but Jesus is blessed you to be an effective instrument of His grace and love.

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