Hem and Hand

c. 1570

c. 1570 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

hands 10 mfRecently I was reading part of Madeline L’Engle’s And It Was Good and the following statement stuck in my mind:

The hem of Jesus’ garment must often have been dirty.”

hands 10 mf In turn, I was reminded of the story about the healing of the woman with a flow of blood for twelve years recorded in Mark 5:25-34.

 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve
years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors
and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak,  because she thought, “If I just touch his
clothes, I will be healed.”  Immediately her bleeding stopped and she
felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned
around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples
answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.  Then the
woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and,
trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter,
your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

 hands 10 mfMadeline L’Engle was talking about how Jesus never turned anyone away no matter who they were or what they had done.  Symbolically she was saying that Jesus constantly came in contact with sinful people, “dirty people”, and it did not bother him.  If his being with others resulted in their coming to know him in a personal way, then, as God’s son, his purpose in coming to earth was fulfilled.

 hands 10 mfThe story recorded in the gospel of Mark tells of how the woman with a flow of blood had faith enough to press into the presence of Jesus and touch the hem of his garment even though she was in the presence of a large crowd of people.  The scripture says that she touched his clothes. I think it may have been the hem of his robe she touched as that would have also been a sign of humility.  In verses 28 and 34 the words “made well” come from the Hebrew word “sozo” that means saved.  This can mean saved from physical death by healing or saved from spiritual death by forgiving sin and its effects.  I have also heard this term used for being made whole.  I like this interpretation because wholeness can refer to my complete being, my body, soul and spirit. Jesus offers me healing of my body, restoration of my soul, and new birth of my spirit.

hands 10 mfMy thoughts now return to what I read by Madeline L’Engle.  If Jesus was willing to let the hem of his robe get dirty by such people as this woman with the flow of blood, then am I willing to do the same?  Am I willing to let people who think and act differently come near enough to me and spend enough time with me, that they can truly see the presence of Jesus in me?  Am I a willing vessel through which the power of Jesus can flow into the lives of others?  I am humbled by these options and want to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe more frequently if I can then lead more people to being made whole in body, soul and spirit.  Maybe I even need to reach in and touch the clothes of Jesus myself in order to receive all His healing in my life.  There were many people around Jesus that day who did not take the time, or have the faith, to get as intimately close to Jesus as this woman.  I wonder how I would have reacted if I were in that crowd  and Jesus showed up.  I admire Jesus for allowing the hem of his robe to get dirty and I admire this woman for having the faith to press into His presence for her healing when so many people were watching.

hands 10 mfMy Reader, would you have been willing to reach out like the woman with the flow of blood or would you have been part of the crowd who stayed back?  Are you willing to be like Jesus and risk getting your hands or the hem of your clothes dirty?  I would appreciate any thoughts or comments you might be willing to share with me.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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A Clarification for our Journey

 

I want to make a quick clarification in regards to the blog I posted yesterday entitled Join Me on a Journey!

My Reader, I invited you to join me on a prayer journey for our nation during the season of Lent. I mentioned that I was inspired to extend this invitation to you because of a post I had read by Ann Voskamp. I encouraged concentrated prayer for our nation, the United States of America. The prayer project mentioned by Ann originated with the IF:Gathering and the prayers are for the persecuted church around the world. I first thought that the “IF” prayer project was for a more extended time than during Lent. However, the more I read about it, I think it too is for the Lenten season as I suggested. My goal was, and still is, to give you the option of a smaller circle of prayer for a limited time period if you were intimidated by greater vision she endorsed. I support and pray for the persecuted throughout the world and encourage you to do the same.

I hope you are taking time to pray today!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Join Me on a Journey!

(Ann Voskamp  inspired me to write today’s blog. In How to Really Get Serious about Slaying Your Giants, Demons, & Hidden Fears, she shares how over 100,000 women around the world have accepted a challenge to pray. This is the result of their taking part in the IF:Gathering via livestream. The focus of their prayers is for God to heal our lands and lives. More tools for this prayer venture will be shared during the season of Lent.
Ann says that this is “a trip you don’t want to ever quit.” My Reader, I encourage you to become a part of this trip, but if it is more than you want to undertake at this time, I hope you will accept my invitation to a shorter seasonal journey that I will share about in the following paragraphs.)

 

 

 

 

lentinvitationhighwayprayer-for-nationMy Reader, since today is the first day of Lent, I invite you to join me on a journey. Each step of the journey will be one day. Each step of the journey will be a prayer. Our journey will take place over the next 40 days, actually 46 days since we will be traveling during the six Sundays of Lent as well. Through prayer, we will travel the lands of our nation interceding for God’s hand to heal our nation and draw us closer to Him. By the time we reach the destination of our journey, we will be prepared to celebrate not only the power of the resurrection of Jesus but also the power of a new prayer life.

Where will our journey lead us? I am not sure of the exact route, but there is Someone who does know. His name is Jesus! According to Hebrews 12:2, we will be “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The Lenten season is a time when we can reflect upon Jesus’ journey toward the cross where He died for us and then rose again on Easter morning. Jesus fixed His eyes on the cross and we need to fix our eyes on Jesus as we pray on behalf of our nation. Luke 9:51 NKJV says “Jesus steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.” These words describe the determination with which Jesus approached the city where He would be crucified. Jesus set his eyes on the cross. As we travel our prayer journey together, our focus must also be upon the cross because that is where we will find victory. The season of Lent is culminated with Jesus’ resurrection on Easter morning. Today, the power that raised Him from the dead is available to answer our cries for our country. I agree with Paul who says in Philippians 3:10 NLT, “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.” There is a need within our nation for this power to spread across the land. 

What promise do we have that each step we take each day of our journey will bring us closer to our destination? Listen to this promise from Jeremiah 33:3 MSG, “Just call to Me. I guarantee I will answer you….” His guarantee should inspire us to pray! Then He goes on to say “…I will make you strong and brave and courageous” for this journey. I’m ready for the journey! Are you ready?  There is a need for us to take this journey.

So, how will we take our steps or what will our prayers entail? II Chronicles 7:14 gives us some direction, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” If we are to affectively pray for our land, or specifically our country, we are instructed not only to repeat words, but to humbly come before the Lord, to seek His face as well as His hand, and to confess our personal sins and the sins of our nation. I believe a special season of dedicated prayer for our nation is a wonderful way for us to observe the season of Lent.  This journey will allow roads to open for our nation and for us to come into a closer relationship with the Lord.  My Reader, I extend to you a personal invitation to join me in a journey of prayer during the next 46 days. In fact, I also encourage you to join the extended trip described by Ann Voskamp. There already is a multitude of over 100,000 women taking part in this venture.  While traveling, we will take each step on our knees rather than on our feet, but we will cover and recover great territory for the Lord. Just one step each day. Just one prayer each day. The journey will take us on the road to victory where we will celebrate Easter morning.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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I would appreciate an RSVP if you choose to accept this invitation for the next 46 days. You can do so by responding with a comment on this blog post. Thanks!

 

 

Love from the Lord

love 1 mfFor God so loved the world that he gave
his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

heart 8 LINK pd

Love is patient, love is kind.
I Corinthians 13:4

heart-6-mfLove never fails.
I Corinthians 13:8

hearts-3-mgLove the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
Mark 12:30

2927333040_04ba573d89_oYou shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Mark 12:31

heart-2

If you love me, keep my commands.
John 14:15

heart-5-mfGreater love has no one than this:
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:14

new heart mf

Above all, love each other deeply,
because love covers over a multitude of sins.
I Peter 4:8

My Reader, may you know the Love of the Lord on Valentine’s Day this year!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Water and a Sponge – A Pictorial Parable

sponge mf

While washing dishes with a sponge in a sink full of warm sudsy water, I began to think about the sponge I was using. Before I could wash the first dish, I had to retrieve the dry, hard sponge from the corner of the sink. Once the sponge was in the water, it became soft and pliable as it soaked up the sudsy water. Two scriptural phrases that are similar, yet different came to my mind as the sponge was in my hand. The first phrase tells me that I am “in Christ” while the second one says “Christ in you.” What is the difference between these two phrases? Is not the end result the same with Christ and me becoming one? What difference does it make if I am in Christ or Christ is in me? While pondering these questions, God gave me a pictorial parable with physical facts for the mind and spiritual facts for the soul to help answer my questions. Let me share with you what I learned. I will write the spiritual facts in regular type and the physical facts will be noted in italics within parentheses.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:
The old has gone, the new is here!
II Corinthians 5:17

 The “in Christ” scripture from II Corinthians 5:17 is the first one that comes to my mind. However, I have read that “in Christ” is used by Paul in his epistles 172 times, so this is not the only “in Christ” reference in scripture. When Paul uses the phrase “in Christ,” he is referring to the relationship that occurs when I accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior. At the moment of salvation, there is a blending of the life of God into my life. A oneness in will and purpose results in a vital union between Christ and me. I am now known as a Christian because my life is Christlike with Christ living in me and not just influencing me from the outside. Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Christ and sin cannot occupy the same space. Consequently, my sins were forgiven and forgotten when I accepted Christ as my savior and He now is in me.

 (A dry sponge is placed into a sink of water and it then has the position of being in the water. This is similar to my being “in Christ”.)

 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

According to Galatians 2:20, now as a believer in Christ I am not only “in Christ” but “Christ is in me” and I exemplify this when I live by faith and not by sight. Christ as the Holy Spirit now dwells in me and has the power to mold my character into the likeness of Christ. Acts 17:28 says, “for in Him (in Christ) we live and move and have our being.” However, the extent to which this happens depends upon how much I allow the “Christ in me” to have control of my life. Ephesians 5:18 concludes by saying “be filled with the Spirit.” The Greek word for filled means “to fill and disperse throughout one’s soul.” This word also implies that the filling is an ongoing process rather than a one time experience.I like the Amplified Bible translation that says, “ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.” The ongoing experience of being filled with the Spirit infuses me with everything I need to live like Christ!

(The water is in the sponge only to the extent that the sponge soaks up the water. If the water is squeezed out of the sponge, it may be damp but it does not contain as much water as when it remained totally immersed. If the sponge is left on the edge of the sink where there is no water, it can completely dry out. In order for the sponge to be wet, it must be in water that it can absorb. This can be applied to the phrase “Christ in you”.)

Remain in me (Christ), and I (Christ) will remain in you.
John 15:4

John 15:4 is a scripture verse spoken by Jesus Christ that combines the two phrases of “in Christ” and “Christ in you.” I found a personal place “in Christ” when I accepted Jesus as my Savior and now I am in Christ who is immeasurably bigger than I am. However, at the same time, I know Christ is in me. Since Christ is so much bigger than I am, I can only have a fraction of who Christ is actually living in me. I need to be constantly filled with Christ so I can be more like Him.In order for my life to be fruitful, I need both positions of “me in Christ” as well as “Christ in me.” In John 15:5 Jesus goes on to say, “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Jesus created me for a partnership with Him just as there was a union between Jesus and His Heavenly Father. Jesus says in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” Then listen to these words of Jesus found in John 15:9-11: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” It amazes me that Christ wants to be a part of me whether it be that I am “in Christ” or “Christ is in me”.However, scripture proves this to be true!

(The sink full of water is much larger than the little sponge. When the sponge is in the sink full of water, it is comparable to being “in Christ”. The sponge can only absorb a certain amount of the water at a given time which determines how much there is of “Christ in you.” If the sponge is out of the water it will dry out. If the sponge were a person, I could say that the sponge was thirsty for water. In John 4:10, Jesus refers to Himself as being living water. This is further developed in John 7:37-40The sponge can absorb liquid water.)

 
My Reader, do you know your personal position “in Christ” and “Christ in you”? I don’t know about you, but I know there are times I feel like a dry sponge. I know I am “in Christ” but I do not always take the time for the Holy Spirit to fill me so that “Christ is in me” to the fullest extent possible. Some churches offer times of “soaking” when people can come simply to be in the presence of the Holy Spirit and be saturated through taking time to pray, read scripture and listen for the voice of God. Don’t be a dry sponge, jump into the Living Water with me! Remember, in John 13:20 Jesus says, “I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you!”

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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