The Woman Who Touched Jesus’ Robe
Luke 8:43-48 English Standard Version (ESV)
43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians,[a] she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased.45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter[b] said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
Many of us appear to be all right in general, but there are still some areas in which we are careless and lazy; it is not a matter of sin, but the remnants of our carnal life that tend to make us careless. Carelessness is an insult to the Holy Spirit. We should have no carelessness about us either in the way we worship God, or even in the way we eat and drink.
Not only must our relationship to God be right, but the outward expression of that relationship must also be right. Ultimately, God will allow nothing to escape; every detail of our lives is under His scrutiny. God will bring us back in countless ways to the same point over and over again. And He never tires of bringing us back to that one point until we learn the lesson, because His purpose is to produce the finished product. It may be a problem arising from our impulsive nature, but again and again, with the most persistent patience, God has brought us back to that one particular point. Or the problem may be our idle and wandering thinking, or our independent nature and self-interest. Through this process, God is trying to impress upon us the one thing that is not entirely right in our lives.
We have been having a wonderful time in our studies over the revealed truth of God’s redemption, and our hearts are perfect toward Him. And His wonderful work in us makes us know that overall we are right with Him. “Let patience have its perfect work….” The Holy Spirit speaking through James said, “Now let your patience become a finished product.” Beware of becoming careless over the small details of life and saying, “Oh, that will have to do for now.” Whatever it may be, God will point it out with persistence until we become entirely His.
STREAMS IN THE DESERT
(Jesus Helping To Pilot the Ship)
By: L.B. Cowman
David cared for them with pure motives; he led them with skill. Ps 78:72
When you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgment absolutely to the Spirit of God, and ask Him to shut against you every door but the right one…Meanwhile keep on as you are, and consider the absence of indication to be the indication of God’s will that you are on His track…As you go down the long corridor, you will find that He has preceded you, and locked many doors which you would fain have entered; but be sure that beyond these there is one which He has left unlocked. Open it and enter, and you will find yourself face to face with a bend of the river of opportunity, broader and deeper than anything you had dared to imagine in your sunniest dreams. Launch forth upon it; it conducts to the open sea.
God guides us, often by circumstances. At one moment the way may seem utterly blocked; and then shortly afterward some trivial incident occurs, which might not seem much to others, but which to the keen eye of faith speaks volumes. Sometimes these things are repeated in various ways, in answer to prayer. They are not haphazard results of chance, but the opening up of circumstances in the direction in which we would walk. And they begin to multiply as we advance toward our goal, just as the lights do as we near a populous town, when darting through the land by night express.
—F. B. Meyer
If you go to Him to be guided, He will guide you; but He will not comfort your distrust or half-trust of Him by showing you the chart of all His purposes concerning you. He will show you only into a way where, if you go cheerfully and trustfully forward, He will show you on still farther.
As moves my fragile bark across the storm-swept sea,
Great waves beat o’er her side, as north wind blows;
Deep in the darkness hid lie threat’ning rocks and shoals;
But all of these, and more, my Pilot knows.
Sometimes when dark the night, and every light gone out,
I wonder to what port my frail ship goes;
Still though the night be long, and restless all my hours,
My distant goal, I’m sure, my Pilot knows.
—Thomas Curtis Clark
You Are Beloved
|July 31, 2018
You Are Beloved
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1a (NIV)
You are not what you do.
You are not what you have.
You are not what people say about you.
You are God’s beloved daughter.
This is your only true identity.
Though we are many things — parents, ministry leaders, entrepreneurs, sinners and saints, God only sees us as one thing: His beloved.
We might believe we are the beloved of God consciously; maybe we hear it all the time. But many of us struggle to truly believe it unconsciously. Deep down there’s a self-talk we don’t always see driving many of our decisions and emotions; there are voices telling us we’re not enough, we need to be more, do more and be better. “Only then” will we be worthy of belonging.
I remember the first time I realized these unconscious voices were swirling around in my heart.
I was telling my wife a story how as a kid I did something clumsy. Consciously, the story was funny to me. It made a family relative freak out and call me a name. I’m laughing as I’m telling her the story and I say, “He got so mad he called me a …” Then something bizarre happened. My face, throat and chest locked up. I couldn’t even get the mean word out and started weeping.
I’m not one to cry often, but this night I cried like crazy, all the way home, and I could barely drive. Though painful, the experience was also cathartic and enlightening.
I realized something amazing. I’d been carrying those words in my heart for so long and had never noticed them. Deep down inside there was this kid, me, who wondered if in the end he was just the worthless name he’d been called.
We all do this. It might have been said by someone we love or someone we hated. Maybe it wasn’t blatantly said but expressed through an unloving action. We might say we are God’s beloved, but there’s often a deeper, self-rejecting voice. It’s this harmful voice we need to bring to the surface, think about, feel and give to the Lord. We can do that through training and replacing that voice with what Henri Nouwen called “the voice of the beloved.”
I once heard him give a speech about how we are not what we do, what we have or what people say about us. We who follow Jesus are God’s beloved daughters and sons. I decided I needed to believe this, deep down. I needed to train this into my heart. So I wrote it as a creed to practice. I said it slowly, as a meditation, every time I would pray. Over time as I spoke this creed over my life, I watched how more than any other discipline, it powerfully transformed my life into Christ-likeness. I’d like to share it with you:
“I’m not what I do.
I’m not what I have.
I’m not what people say about me.
I am the beloved of God.
It’s who I am.
No one can take it from me.
I don’t have to worry.
I don’t have to hurry.
I can trust my friend Jesus and share His love with the world.”
Friend, you are so loved. You do enough. You are enough. God’s Word reminds us to “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1a)
It’s easy to compare our lives to others and think, I’m not like her or him, but that’s not a fair perspective. Anyone you think is perfect certainly is not. (You just need to know them better to see this truth.) In the end, we do our best but then can give it to the Lord. We can relax and walk in the easy rhythms of grace. We can trust we are loved by God. We can let go of our fears of worthlessness and live every moment with joy in friendship with Jesus.
Father, I belong to You. I am the apple of Your eye, Your beloved child. Thank You that You know all my fears, worries and imperfections, yet You call me Your beloved. It’s not what I do, but what Christ did for me. There is no greater love than that. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.