God gave Himself … What will you give?

Nativity Tapestry“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23

Our glorious God has bestowed great and precious promises and blessings upon His followers.

One awesome gift:  God gave Himself, so that men and women would be able to live with Him forever.

What will you give?

My prayer for you:

Holy are You, Heavenly Father. Enable the meaning of Immanuel, God with us, to penetrate the our very essence as we walk through this Christmas season reflecting upon the gift that cost You Your own dear Son, a gift of absolute surrender. May we learn to give You our very being, our everything as we learn to surrender our all to You.

May you and your family experience a renewed and deepening relationship with
our Lord and Savior.

Will you run after Jesus?

Sea of Galilee

 
 
 
The Sea of Galilee

And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves. The people saw them going, and many recognized them and ran there together on foot from all the cities, and got there ahead of them. Mark 6:31-33

So much need, no time to eat.

When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things. Mark 6:34

Matthew Henry writes:

they seemed to be well-inclined, and manageable as sheep, and willing to be taught, but they had no shepherd, none to lead and guide them in the right way, none to feed them with good doctrine: and therefore, in compassion to them, he not only healed their sick, as it is in Matthew, but he taught them many things, and we may be sure that they were all true and good, and fit for them to learn.

Even though Jesus and the disciples were weary and needed to rest, they ministered to the people who were hungry for guidance … hungry for the spiritual food that only Jesus could give.

They ran to Jesus and would not leave Him until He fed them spiritual food as well as earthly food. Not until this multitude of 5,000 men, not including women and children, were full did Jesus send them away.

I’ve been as desperate as these people were. I’ve run after Jesus, not letting Him out of my sight until He filled me with His healing touch, His spiritual food, and His earthly provisions. Nothing else really mattered.

Only Jesus mattered.

Looking upon that desperation, Jesus had compassion, for He is the Good Shepherd. He filled every need beyond any human expectations.

He wants to fill your every need. Won’t you run after Jesus, sit at His feet, drink in His teachings, receive His healing, eat His bread?

He’s looking upon you with compassion.

My prayer for you

Our Good Shepherd, we long for Your guidance, Your touch, Your filling. Lead us by Your staff, set a table before us in the presence of our enemies, anoint our heads with your healing oil, and walk us through the valleys as we dwell in Your presence forever.

Has Jesus told you to do the impossible?

Pastor Chuck Israel

Overlooking the Sea of Galilee as Pastor Chuck Smith teaches from the Sermon on the Mount Scripture.

When Jesus found out that John the Baptist had been beheaded, He withdrew to be alone. However, the crowds followed Him. He looked at the crowds and had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” Matthew 14:15-16

“We have only five loaves here and two fish.”

Three questions about the disciples’ choices

  1. They told Jesus what He should do. Jesus was the Teacher. He was the Healer. Did Jesus need instruction?
  2. They scanned the crowd for food before they went to Jesus. Did they know the nature of Jesus would not allow Him to send the people away hungry?
  3. They responded in weakness, only five small loaves of bread and two small fish. Was anything impossible for Jesus?

Jesus’ compassion

And He said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:18-21

Jesus chose to take the little food that the disciples had found, bless it, break it, multiply it, and give it to the disciples to distribute to the crowds.

The disciples did feed the crowds with the little that they had when they surrendered it to Jesus.

Each time I have read this story, I have concentrated on the compassion that Jesus had on the crowds. I think that there may be a greater compassion that Jesus had on the disciples.

Jesus gave the disciples an impossible task to do in their own strength. I can imagine Jesus taking a long breath, smiling, and looking at them in love as He said, “Bring them here to me.”

He looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.

Here was the example. Jesus looked to heaven. He prayed.

Jesus multiplied the little that the disciples had and gave it back to them to feed the crowds.

And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Matthew 14:20

Out of surrender came empowerment.

Out of little came abundance.

Out of prayer came a miracle.

Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds. Matthew 14:22

Out of obedience came another assignment.

This is the only miracle of Jesus that is recorded in all four Gospels. The Holy Spirit has much to teach us about the nature of Jesus, total surrender, and the Christian walk through this miracle.

My prayer for you

Compassionate Father, grant Your perfect wisdom to Your children as You teach us the truths in this miracle of provision, this miracle of total surrender, this miracle of taking little and growing it to abundance. We bring what little we have to You. Multiply it and empower us to bless others with abundance and service. Thank You for Your compassion on Your followers and the world.

2 blind men healed: Healing activated by faith

Idyllwild cross

Is that Jesus passing by us? He raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead. Think He would heal our blind eyes?

The two men follow Jesus.

“Have mercy on us, Son of David.”

Jesus enters the Capernaum house without a word. The men follow him into the house. I wonder what the owner of the house thinks.

“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Matthew 9:28

“According to your faith be it done to you.” Matthew 9:29

And their eyes are opened. Although Jesus tells them not to tell others about their healing, they tell many people.

Five verses, five attributes.

  1. Focused. These men had heard of the compassion and miracles of Jesus, and they knew what Jesus could do for them. Together, they sought Jesus.
  2. AccountableThe two men cried out loudly to Jesus over the crowd. They took responsibility for pursuing Jesus until He answered them.
  3. Intense. When Jesus did not respond to their cries, they followed Him, right into the house. They did not give up when there was no answer from the Son of David, the Messianic name of their Savior.
  4. Trust.They trusted the Scripture. Isaiah 35:5 states that when the Messiah comes, He will open the eyes of the blind.
  5. Hope. Blind men for a season, their hope was an earnest expectation for their sight.

Focused + Accountable + Intense + Trust + Hope = Faith

Result: Healing!

My prayer for you:

Our Father and Lord, You are the God of all compassion, all mercy, and all love. Pour out Your blessings and healing upon our land and upon Your people. Restore our sight to all that is true and lovely. Restore our bodies, our minds, and our land into what You intended. Give us the faith to focus on You as we hold ourselves accountable in an intense trust in You, and we will earnestly hope in Your restoration. We will spread the news of Your great works as these two blind men did. We praise You for all that You are and all that You do. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Need Healing? Actively Wait on the Lord

And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.  Matthew 9:20-22

If only … This woman had been suffering from an “issue of blood” for 12 years, and she had spent all her money and suffered many things at the hands of doctors. Yes, she was still suffering. Because of her bleeding, she had also been considered unclean for 12 years and had not been able to go to the temple and worship the Lord.

She knew that if she could touch the fringe or tassels of His robe, she would be healed. Jewish men wore tassels with a blue cord running through them on the four corners of their garments to remind themselves of all of the commandments of God.  (Deuteronomy   22:12)

This woman had heard of the miracles that Jesus was performing. He had healed the blind, healed the deaf, healed the leper, cast out demons, fed the multitudes, and raised the dead. Surely, He would heal her.

But she was unclean. She was not supposed to get near the crowds, absolutely not touch a holy man. But she was desperate. If only …

“I’ll just push my way through the crowd and touch the fringe of His garment. No one ever needs to know.”

“But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.’ At once the woman was made well.“ (Matthew 9:22)

The woman knew what she needed to do to be healed—touch the garment of Jesus. She planned how she would get to Jesus, and she let nothing get in her way—not her sickness, not the crowds, not the possible condemnation of others.

Jesus healed in many different ways, sometimes it was instantly, sometimes it was a process, but He always healed those who came to Him and believed.

Keith and I actively waited on the Lord to heal me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. We actively waited for two years. During that time, we pressed into the Lord and waited on His work in our lives:

  1. We read all the Scriptures on healing and waiting on the Lord.
  2. We read books on healing.
  3. We prayed intensely.
  4. We thanked the Lord for the healing He was performing.
  5. We walked forward to be healed, possessing the promise of the impossible.
  6. We told others that I was healed.
  7. We possessed the healing when others tried to talk us out of it or pain came.

When Jesus healed, most of the time, He asked the healed person to do the impossible. He asked the lame man to take up his pallet and walk; He asked the man with the withered hand to stretch out his hand.

Do you need healing in your body, healing in your marriage, healing in your family, healing in your relationships? God is our Healer.

Press into our Great Healer and imagine the impossible. What is the healing you need? If only …