Pride and fear can build walls of separation. There was a woman in the Gospels who’d suffered from a bleeding affliction for twelve years. In addition to the obvious physical challenges, she would have also been considered perpetually “unclean” according to Jewish law, (limiting her worship activities).

When Jesus came near, she saw an opportunity to be healed. However, it was unthinkable in that day for an unclean person to expect physical interaction with a rabbi…so she sneaked a touch. Reaching through the chaos of the crowd, she made contact with Jesus’ clothes; and healing power surged through her body. When He turned to inquire about the touch, she fell at His feet trembling, but Jesus said this:

“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” – Mark 5:34 NKJV

Sometimes there’s fear in the “reaching”. Sometimes pride prevents an extension of the hand to admit we need Him. But the truth is, we NEED Him! His healing power is available and His grace can cleanse a dirty life. What do you need to reach out for today? There’s nothing like the touch of the Master!

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Wisdom 19.21

“Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the LORD’s decree will stand.” – Proverbs 19:21 HCSB

There’s an old saying among carpenters, “Measure twice, cut once.” because once a cut is made, it can’t be undone. Perhaps it’s a good rule for life as well, “Measure your plans twice against God’s Word, then act.” And although it’s not a guarantee for success, it will minimize regret.

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Storms are powerful displays of nature, and when seasons change, the weather can get nasty. In our personal life, “changing winds” can also bring a storm. In the Gospels, there’s a pivotal moment where the disciples sailed into rough seas while Jesus slept; and they were petrified. From their perspective, the crashing waves would destroy their boat at any moment…but then Jesus spoke:

“Peace, be still!” – Mark 4:39a NKJV

Instantly there was calm, astonishment, gratitude, worship, bewilderment…and a deep realization of the presence of ALMIGHTY GOD!

Do you see dark clouds forming on the horizon of your life today? Perhaps you’re already in the middle of a raging storm and your boat is taking on water. He alone can speak calm into your soul. The disciples admitted their fear. They even questioned His concern for their safety, but they were never in real danger because Jesus was in the boat. Is He in your life today? If so, He’s near. Call out to Him and listen for His powerful words…”Peace, be still!”

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Big results in God’s kingdom often start very small. Jesus explained it this way:

“To what shall we liken the Kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds of the earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.” – Mark 4:30-32 NKJV

The contrast between the size of the seed and the mature plant has everything to do with the Designer. The tiny seed contains the potential for large sturdy branches. It may start very small, but once placed in the ground, growth follows. However, as amazing as mustard seeds are, they must be sown for the germination process to begin. The same can be said of small acorns. They must be properly positioned to start the growth process to become a large, towering oak tree.

Today, the “sowing” can be something said, done, started, shared, prayed for, and more. What “mustard-seed” do you need to sow in faith today?

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The Lord’s Day 3-18-18

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened…I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is written within my heart.” – Psalm 40:6-8 NKJV

Obedience is better than sacrifice (2 Sam. 15:22). Is your heart open to the Lord’s leading? Are you willing to hear His Word and act on it? It’s the Lord’s Day…let’s worship not only with our actions, but also with our hearts.

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People will label you various ways; “nice”, “mean”, “attractive”, “talented”, “clumsy”, etc. Some are welcome…and some aren’t. In the Bible, there’s a lot of people who knew about labels. One of them encountered Jesus while in a lifestyle so “colorful” the entire town knew of it. But when Luke introduces her, she had recently received a new label. Luke records that she went into a dinner gathering at Simon’s house to express her love and gratitude to the Lord. After washing His feet with her tears, she opened an alabaster flask and anointed Him with an expensive, fragrant oil (which created a stir). After making a point with an illustration of creditor and debtor, Jesus turned to the woman and spoke the most important words any of us could ever hope to hear:

“Your sins are forgiven…your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” – Luke 7:48-50 NKJV

As broken, self-centered people, what could possibly compare to the status of “forgiven” as we stand before Holy God? Through gracious love, He’s given us something we could not earn in a thousand lifetimes; followed by the words “Go in peace.” Not only is there a redeemed status, there’s a soul-deep resonance of peace.

In the Christian life, there’s nothing more central to who we are than the precious, costly label of “Forgiven”. How will you wear it today?

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Sometimes the journey of faith is filled with “stumped toes” and “skinned knees”. Do you ever feel like sitting down, tending to your wounds, and giving up? If so, you’re not alone. Jesus understands your struggles. Think about that for a moment; He actually, literally, in a real-life-work-a-day-world understands your challenges. As a matter of fact, He may be the only one that really does, because He not only knows the details of the circumstances, He knows the details of you. For a disciple, it’s good to occasionally hear the following words:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest in your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV

The original word-picture is a young ox being teamed up with a strong, experienced one for learning and support. Jesus encourages us to relax in our spirit and find true rest for our souls while still moving forward. Only He can provide that. If you’re feeling tired and beat-up today, lean into Him. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

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