Are you limiting God?

Ein GeddiEin Geddi

Jesus went out from there and came into His hometown; and His disciples followed Him. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief. Mark 6:1-6

Jesus crisscrossed the Sea of Galilee going from countryside to villages teaching, opening blind eyes, casting out demons, healing all who came to Him, and raising a little girl from the dead.

Word of this Miracle-Worker had spread throughout the region.

Jesus went to His hometown with His disciples, and on the Sabbath, He began to teach in the synagogue.

Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?”

Friends and neighbors of Jesus’ family acknowledged that He had been given wisdom and that He had performed miracles, but they knew Him as the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, Joses, Judas, Simon, and His sisters.

And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.

I consumed the Scriptures and believed that the miracles and healings recorded in the Bible actually happened. But I had been taught that the miracles and healings were for the early church and not for today, except for an occasional miracle or healing.

Although Jesus’ hometown friends and neighbors heard extraordinary wisdom come from the lips of Jesus, they were offended … Jesus was a carpenter! Although Jesus worked miracles, His family lived in Nazareth.

I believed that Jesus could work miracles, that Jesus could heal … others.

Just as those in Nazareth, I limited Jesus, and Jesus is a gentleman; He will not cross boundaries that we draw.

It took two years of praying and Bible study after God told Keith and me that He was going to heal me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. During those two years, we learned to drop our expectation of the ordinary and to wait in great expectation for the extraordinary: a healing.

Three years after the Lord healed me, He is breaking down walls other people have placed on Jesus as they witness what He has accomplished in my body.

People who knew me when I was pain-riddled, still ask me how I am feeling.

I’m healed!

Still, I have other walls that I’ve placed around Jesus. I’m praying and studying to break those walls down as well.

My prayer for you

Jesus, You are all about faith, expectation, and possibility. You are our hope. Teach us to lean You. Guide us as we learn of You. Show us how we are limiting You and enable us to remove those boundaries, so that we invite You to accomplish Your great works in our lives.

How are you limiting Jesus?

Walls can’t come crashing down without the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Step out as the Holy Spirit guides you.

Need a miracle, healing, blessing? Cry out to God

Jordan RiverThe Jordan River

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.

O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. Isaiah 30:18-19

Isaiah warned Judah against making an alliance with the Egyptians, but they rebelled against God’s plan for them and chose their own path. They even told the prophets to be quiet.

Judah ignored the Word of God and did what was right in their own eyes.

The consequences were oppression and deprivation.

God longed to bless them. All He wanted was for them to cry out to Him. He was waiting to be gracious to them.

God longs to bless you and me. He is waiting for us to turn from our plans, to cry out to Him and turn to His plan for us.

He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left. And you will defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and your molten images plated with gold. You will scatter them as an impure thing, and say to them, “Be gone!”

Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture. Isaiah 30:20-23

Do you need a blessing? A miracle? Healing?

My prayer for you

Father, I am astounded that You would wait upon us, that You are longing to bless us. Thank You for Your great patience with us. You are our Teacher. You are our Miracle Worker. You are our Healer. You are our Blesser. We cry out to You. We turn from our plans and take You by the hand, so that You can walk us through Your plans for us. Thank You for Your great compassion and love.

Cry out to God. He’s waiting to bless you.

Jesus … The source for healing, teaching, and life

5 loaves

And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, “I feel compassion for the multitude, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not wish to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” Matthew 15:32

Where would we get so many loves in a desolate place to satisfy such a great multitude?

How many loaves do you have?

Seven loaves and a few small fish.

He took the seven loaves and fish and gave thanks. Jesus broke them and gave them to the disciples for distributing to the 4,000 men plus women and children.

Seven large baskets full of the broken pieces were left over.

For three days, thousands flocked to Jesus for healing and teaching. They stayed on the mountain with Jesus even though they had run out of food, for they glorified God when they experienced Jesus.

Jesus was their source for healing, for teaching, and for food. Jesus became their manna, their life-giver.

He [God] humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:3

Are you hungry for Jesus?

My prayer for you:

Jesus, You are our manna from heaven. We long for You. Fill us up with You. Thank You for waiting for us to surrender all at Your feet as we bask in Your presence, in Your words, in Your healing. We glorify You and wait for Your sustenance.

3 years … HEALED!

Low V

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Today, marks the third anniversary of the Lord’s healing of my body’s fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Three years, pain free. Three years, proclaiming the miracle. Three years, demonstrating the miracle. Three years, Christians and non-Christians marveling.

The first year, God enabled me to return to work full time. He empowered me to climb the Great Wall of China six months after His healing. Eleven months after He healed me, a blog dedicated to the Lord was born.

The second year, my husband, Keith, and I traveled through six countries on two separate study abroad trips. I had the privilege of sharing the story of the Lord’s healing with a Hindu and American students. I also prayed with students.

The third year, co-workers and executives witnessed this former fibro patient get on a wire 4 1/2 feet from the ground, join hands with another woman, press into her hands, and lean forward as we inched out on the Team Building Low-V until we fell into the hands of our peers below. They cheered. I tearfully revealed the miracle. They marveled.

How did this happen, Karen?

The Lord healed me on November 21, 2010.

Did you change your diet? Did you do anything differently?

I did nothing. The Lord healed me.

There is one thing that I remembered later: I waited on the Lord. The word for “wait” in Isaiah 40:31 is qavah. It means to look for, to hope, to eagerly wait for. It’s an active waiting.

Keith and I waited upon the Lord.

We devoured Scriptures on healing; we read books on healing; we prayed for healing; we thanked the Lord for healing, we waited in anticipation; we went forward for the laying on of hands and anointing with oil, and we walked in faith when the Lord touched my body with healing.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

It’s a promise we can count on.

I participated in an outdoor team-building cooking exercise the Thursday before I was healed. I was in so much distress that one of my peers escorted me back to my hotel room early.

Tuesday evening, I made tiramisu in a similar outdoor exercise. I reminded my supervisor of the evening three years ago as well as the person who escorted me back to my room that evening. They had not realized that Tuesday was close to the third anniversary of the Lord’s healing. I left the evening exercise and dinner late, celebrating health and the Lord.

God planned Tuesday evening.

God is good … all the time!

The freedom from pain and fatigue is awesome. God healed me to bless me. God healed me to show His reign over nature. God healed me to demonstrate renewal. God healed me to show His goodness.

That’s what signs and miracles are all about. They happen today to point people to Jesus.

Are you eagerly waiting upon the Lord?

My prayer for you:

Almighty God, thank You that You are a God of renewal. You are the Sovereign One who heals, empowers, and strengthens. Manifest Your renewing love in the lives of all who call upon Your name. May they seek after You in eager expectation of Your promises and Your work in their lives. Thank You for loving us so much that You gave Your Son to pay the price for our sins. We love You Lord.

Jesus feeds the 5,000 – 7-step lesson of the miracle

Grassy HillA grassy hillside in the Galilee region

Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” This He was saying to test [prove] him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.” John 6:3-7

Jesus and His disciples had retreated to the mountain after they received the news that John the Baptist had been beheaded.

When I heard that Pastor Chuck Smith had gone to be with the Lord, I was on my way to work. I had meetings to attend, phone calls to make, and talking points to write. As I drove, I remembered our time in Israel with Pastor Chuck, the times at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, and the changes in my life as a result of Pastor Chuck’s influence. When I got to the office, I shut my door to pray, grieve, and remember. I thanked God for Papa Pastor Chuck, opened my door, and attended to the needs of the day.

There was Jesus with His disciples, perhaps remembering the good that John the Baptist had done, grieving, and thanking God. Then, Jesus looked up, saw a need and taught the disciples how to attend to the need in a seven-step process:

1.  Possibility: Where’s the opportunity to fill the need?

Jesus asked Phillip, Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?”

2.  Recognize: Acknowledge our limitations.

Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.”

3.  Surrender: It’s not much, Jesus, but this is what we have.

Andrew came to Jesus and said, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?”

4.  Obey: Take the next step even if you don’t know what Jesus will do.

Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

5.  Observe: Watch Jesus at work.

Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted.

6.  Gather: Preserve the miraculous increase.

When they were filled, He *said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.”

7.  Reflect: Ponder the lesson in the miracle.

“Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.’ … Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. John 6:31-35

After the miracle, Jesus departed to the mountain alone, and the disciples left by boat. They retreated.

After a long day at work, I enjoyed remembering Papa Pastor Chuck with my husband, Keith.

There is a time of retreat and a time of ministering. Sometimes rest is interrupted by need.

My prayer for you:

Father, empower us to recognize the process and possibilities open to us as we allow You to work in this world. May we surrender all that we have to You, so that You can multiply it beyond our imagination. Bring us to that retreat with You and teach us the lesson of taking in Manna from heaven. We praise You, Father, for Your goodness and holiness.

What’s God’s promise for you … “so that”?

20130914-073342.jpg

And He brought forth His people with joy,
His chosen ones with a joyful shout.
He gave them also the lands of the nations,
That they might take possession of the fruit of the peoples’ labor,
So that they might keep His statutes
And observe His laws,
Praise the Lord! Psalm 105: 42-45

Psalm 105 retells the story of God bringing the Israelites out of Egyptian captivity, through the desert, and into the Promised Land.

Before they reached the long-promised land, they endured 400 years of harsh captivity in the land of Egypt.

Then Moses, an Israelite who had been brought up in the palace of Pharoah, and murdered an Egyptian, appeared from exile on the back side of the desert. Moses told the Israelites that he was back to lead them from Egypt to the Promised Land.

God was gracious to the Israelites as He empowered Moses to bring plagues upon the Egyptians but spared the Israelites.

Finally, Pharaoh released the Israelites but soon pursued them into the desert. Pharaoh’s army quickly approached the Israelites … the Red Sea the only barrier between Pharaoh and freedom.

Through Moses, God parted the Red Sea, and the Israelites crossed on dry land to the other side. They watched the Egyptian soldiers enter the dry land and the water walls crash over them.

Egypt and the Red Sea behind them, the Israelites stepped into the desert where they endured hunger and thirst to learn that Jehovah was their provider, their healer, their sustainer.

By day, God led the Israelites by the cooling cloud, and by night by the warming pillar of fire.

Psalm 105 recounts the trials that the Israelites encountered and how God brought them through the trials to victory.

Psalm 105:42-45 tell us why God was gracious … “so that” …

We sometimes forget that God brings us through the trials for a reason, “so that.” We forget that the miracles and promises are for “so that.”

In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. James 1:18

And what do the first fruits of God’s creatures do?

visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27b

What is the “so that” of the miracle or promise that is your heart’s cry?

My prayer for you:

Our Great Sustainer, You delight in promising Your children good things. Thank You for stretching Your children, so that we learn to depend upon You. Soften our hearts, so that we might recognize the reason why we are enduring trials. Show us the “so that” and empower us to accomplish it well.