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  • # 103 The Healing Power of Love

    Peter and the others can't believe Jesus has stopped. Jairus is impatient and nervous.

    "I felt healing power leave me," explains Jesus, "somebody touched me with purpose."

    The woman, joyfully realizing her healing, is trying to slip away, grateful and content. But seeing it isn't possible, she comes forward tearfully telling the story of how she has suffered and hoped for healing.

    Jesus gives her the moment with Him she has longed for. He also wants to stop and teach everyone that faith is a transaction: our belief in God's goodness accesses His power; it wasn't magic in his person or clothes that healed her.

    Our expression of His goodness is God's chosen way to reveal Himself to our world.

    Our praise is almost irresistible. He continually pours out blessings on us, and sends angels to protect us, but we mostly take all the goodness in life for granted, missing opportunities to express gratitude that would help us and those around us. God desires our praise to be personalized with our individuality.

    Keeping a Remembrance Journal--writing the things God does for us--would train our brains to be happier--more positive--and keep our hearts softer to recognize more love. (It takes ten to thirty seconds to anchor a feeling or thought and hardwire it. Bad things get more time easily.)

    Jesus takes the time to hardwire this woman's healing, "Daughter, your faith has healed you, go in peace."

    True faith brings healing, vigor and confidence to it's possessor.

    Ingratitude and mindlessness harden our hearts (minds) into negative patterns.

    Mark 5:30-34, Luke 8:45-48, Matthew 9:22

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  • # 102 Focused Faith

    Crowds await Jesus on the other side of the lake. Graciously he spends the afternoon talking with them and healing their sick. Then he heads to Matthew's for a special dinner.

    The ruler of the synagogue hears he is there, and desperately goes to Matthew's after dinner, asking, "Please come and touch my daughter. She is dying."

    Immediately Jesus leaves with him.

    The disciples are surprised at Jesus' willingness; Jairus has been disdainful towards Jesus. They and others follow.

    Because of the crowd outside they move slowly, and Jesus stops now and again to relieve suffering.

    A woman who has suffered hemorrhaging for twelve years is outside Matthew's house hoping to see Jesus.

    She has spent all her money on doctors, only to be told she's incurable. When she hears of Jesus' miracles, she feels she has to find him. Believing he would heal her, she had struggled to the lakeside, trying to reach him, but she couldn't get close enough to ask. She, also, hears he will be at Matthew's, and goes there, but can't get to him this time either.

    Then suddenly, here He comes through the crowd! Instantly Spirit prompts, and she thinks If I just touch his clothes, I'll be well. She presses forward and reaches out as he passes, the faith of her whole life focuses in that one effort.

    She does it! She touches his robe! Instantly pain and weakness leave her body!

    Jesus stops. Jairus is anxious.

    "Who touched me?" Jesus asks.

    Peter is incredulous. "'Who touched me?' Master, everyone is touching you, what do you mean ?"

    (continued tomorrow)

    Luke 8:40-44, Matthew 9:18-22, Mark 5:21-30

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  • # 101 Sent Away

    The people of Gadara were engrossed in materialism--not interested in spiritual life. Jesus permitted the loss as a merciful way to refocus them, but fear has them now, and they ask Jesus to leave.

    He understands. Loss, fear and the supernatural create superstition.

    As he walks to the boat, the two healed men beg to go. They desperately want to be with him, knowing they are safe in His presence.

    But Jesus sends them home. He knows their fear, but he also knows that in telling what He did for them they will be safe and grow strong.

    They had only a few hours in His presence, only heard a few words, but they tell their experience to anyone who will listen. They go all over their country of Decapolis.

    Anyone can share spiritual gratitude, it keeps you safe in Jesus' presence, and is effective. When Jesus comes back, thousands flock to him for three days, proving that evil can be used for good.*

    To Decapolis and the universe, Satan is revealed as the destroyer.** His will for people ruins body, mind, and spirit, inciting us to selfishness, self-pity, evil, and violence. Satan had planned to turn the people away from Jesus by destroying the pigs.

    But Jesus shows that no one is so ruined that they can't be restored to sanity and used by Him. Gadara needed a tutorial on priorities.

    He doesn't want you afraid of Satan's plans either,*** even if learning it costs you 2,000 pigs.

    Luke 8:35-39, Mark 5:15-20, Matthew 8:34, Hebrews 2:14, *Romans 8:28 , **Exodus 12:23, Hebrews 2:14 *** 2Timothy 1:7, James 4:7

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  • # 100 Of Pigs and Men

    Dawn breaks as Jesus and his friends reach the other side of the lake. Sunrise kisses water and land with peace again.

    They step onto land and the peace shatters. More scary than storms, two demon-possessed men rush at them.* Fragments of broken chains hang about them, their skin bleeding from cutting themselves, their eyes glaring behind long, matted hair.

    The disciples scatter in terror, looking back to see Jesus right where they left him.

    The two men approach him grinding their teeth, but Jesus raises his hand and they stop, helpless though raging.

    "Leave them!" Jesus says with authority.

    A demon speaks, "What do you want with me, Son of the Most High God? Don't torment us before it's time." The men fall at his feet, realizing here is one who can help, but they are powerless to ask.

    "What is your name?" Jesus asks.

    "Legion, for we are many," comes the reply. "Don't send us from the country, allow us to go into the pigs over there." Not far away is a herd of pigs feeding.

    Jesus allows, and immediately the herd panics, runs over the cliff, down the mountainside into the lake, and drowns.

    Their keepers run to the owners with their report, telling everyone they see. The whole town comes out in fear and finds sane, clothed men listening to Jesus where terrifying crazies used to be.

    Frightened, they beg Jesus to leave and he does. He knows they are blinded by their loss, and immediately prepares to leave.

    Matthew 8: 28-34, Luke 8:26-37, Mark 5: 1-17 *Matthew remembers two demoniacs, Peter remembers one. Otherwise their descriptions are very similar. Memory is subjective.

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  • # 99 "Be Still"

    (continued from yesterday...)

    A huge wave crashes over the boat. Hope fails as skill and strength are useless and the disciples' boat fills with water.

    Several of them are fisherman; their whole lives have been spent battling the storms of this lake, but they are losing this one. Fighting the wind and the waves, they forget Jesus is with them.

    Suddenly they remember, but their cries to him are drowned by the shrieking wind. Has he abandoned them? A lightening flash reveals him peacefully sleeping. Waking him they say, "Don't you care that we're sinking? We're about to die!"

    Calmly he gets up, "Be still," he speaks to the storm, holding up a hand as if to stop it, and the wind dies, the waves drop. There is no fear in Jesus' face because there is no fear in his heart.

    He turns to them saying, "Why were you afraid? You still don't have faith?"

    Faith? They have no idea what just happened! They see only peace and love in his face. In awe, they are  silent. Even Peter doesn't attempt words for his feelings. But soon the juxtaposition of awe and terror releases in joyful laughter, and they say to each other, "What kind of man speaks to wind or water, and it obeys?"

    It wasn't his own power Jesus trusted. His Father's power stilled the storm. Jesus rested because of his confidence in God's care.

    We, too, can have that peace! If we belong to God, He is with us, and there is no need to be afraid.*

    Mark 4:38-41,   Matthew 8:25-27,   Luke 8:24-25    *Psalm 107:29-30,  Isaiah 32:17

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  • # 98 Pure Peace

    Jesus has spent the day by the lake telling stories to a huge crowd. Day after day he has taught and healed, meeting their needs, answering their questions. The crowd pressed him until he barely had time to eat.

    Today he told parables illustrating his work and the growth of his kingdom: the sower, the mustard seed, yeast in bread dough. He illustrated the value of knowing Him with the pearl of great price and the treasure in the field.

    He even explained the natural consequences of rejecting goodness in the parables of the wheat and tares, and the fishing net.

    Now he is tired. He loves teaching, but the antagonism and constant criticism of the Pharisees makes his work much harder, and by evening he is exhausted.

    "Let's cross the lake to rest." He says to his disciples. He dismisses the multitude and the disciples quickly launch their boat. Even then other boats follow.

    Hungry, tired, and finally relieved of the pressure of the crowds, Jesus lays down on a pile of fishing nets in the stern and falls into a deep sleep. The evening is calm and peaceful, for a while all is quiet.

    Satan can't stand this peace. Suddenly wind blows down from the mountains off the eastern shore, and the sky grows black. The little boats flounder amid high, powerful waves. The disciples struggle with the storm trying to keep their boat from sinking. Not until they despair of their own ability and ask, can Jesus give help.

    Jesus sleeps peacefully undisturbed on their fishnets.

    Mark 4:1-37, Matthew 8:23-24, Luke 8:22-23

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  • # 97 What is God's Will for Me?

    Jesus explains his metaphor. God's love is His yoke. Cattle were yoked together to keep them in step, in synch, make their pulling easier, more efficient, their work lighter.

    Linked with Him, aware of His closeness, our lives become simple, satisfying, and rewarding.

    His goodness will hold us and be enough. When challenges come, His presence and love surround us, giving rest. Studies show rest increases efficiency. Jesus invites us to rest in His love and care, trusting that God has our best interests at heart always.*

    We create anxiety by being afraid to trust God. Worry is blind and can't see the future, but Jesus can. Those who seek Him first, will see the way open up.**

    For every difficulty, God has a plan to untangle the worst snarls you've created without embarrassment, including the challenges created for you.

    Satan pushes you to protect yourself, to fear surrender to God, to trust only what you can see. But worry brings unrest--steals your energy.

    Need wisdom? strength? healing? God is willing to supply. He has resources and ideas you can't even imagine--a thousand ways to provide where you see none.

    Trusting brings positive attitudes. Surrender makes you glad. Peace is in His presence.

    The better you know Him, the more intense is your happiness. The more time you spend in His presence, the more bliss you will have, the more glory you will see.

    He's amazing to work for, and if you make Him your priority employer, you will see problems disappear, your way become clear.

    *Exodus 33:14 **Isaiah 48:18 ***Psalm 147:3,4, Colossians 2:3,9,10

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  • # 96 Come

    Most of those who followed Jesus were not critical like the Pharisees or His brothers. Some were just curious, but many were spiritually hungry, honest-hearted seekers. To them He said, "Come to me all you who work hard and carry heavy loads. I will give you rest."

    He wants all of us to feel loved, to rest in His love.

    His invitation includes everyone--no exceptions: those who work for acceptance with God and carry a load of guilt, those who work to be loved and don't feel good enough, and those who just plain work hard to produce a meager existence, and struggle to feel God's care and believe His love.

    Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all tired and weighed down. Disappointment and worry produce heaviness in us. The heaviest burden is separation from God. It would kill us if we were left to ourselves.

    So Jesus uses a metaphor his followers see every day-- cattle yoked together to make their work eaiser--to show how God wants our life with Him to feel and to work. He says, "Put on my yoke and learn from Me. I am easy to please, and you will find rest for your heart and mind. My yoke (work) fits your true self perfectly and feels good."

    Many "Christians" have anxiety and fear. They fear complete surrender, thinking they have to keep control. They shrink from imagined consequences of surrender to God, not fully understanding surrender to Love--that our ways bring unrest, where His ways are peace and joy.

    We can live in His smile and thrive.

    Matthew 11:28-30

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  • # 95 What God Can't Do

    Jesus' brothers shudder at His plain words to the Pharisees who are attributing His work to Satan. Jesus says they are cutting themselves off from God.

    The leaders hear Spirit inside urging them to accept Him. They feel longing for His rest. But after rejecting Jesus, it is too humiliating. Pride keeps them tied to unbelief, resisting His love, creating barriers in their hearts.

    The strongest power on earth is drawing them, but they will not yield. Having chosen that path, they now have to work to misrepresent Jesus' words and his work.

    God does not harden hearts or blind eyes. His love softens, enlightens, draws us to safety. Surrendering makes us His "fortress" in this war. Resisting His love, His light, hardens our hearts and blinds our eyes.

    Not yielding to, or ignoring, Spirit, can sweep us into enemy territory, leaving us open to hostile takeover. False self is extremely vulnerable to separating from God. We cannot be our own kingdom, but we must choose God's. We either surrender to God, or are taken over by the enemy.*

    If we resist, ignore, or flat out reject the work of Spirit, we are cutting off God's channel of communication. Completely and finally rejected, there is no way God can reach us; further attempts are useless.

    Satan takes advantage of our neglect or resistance to God, telling us lies that if accepted turn into beliefs (that sound true to us).

    But those who want a personal relationship with God will be safe, and experience His continual love which far outshines the most tender human love possible.**

    Matthew 12:22-50 *1Peter 5:6-10, **Isaiah 43:1, John 10:10,28

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  • So sorry I missed a week, due to emergency surgery while on vacation. I am fine and the blog will resume now.

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