KEEP IN TOUCH

The act of contact between two things or beings is critical to life. It is indeed important as one of the five senses we are created with. It is important therefore that we understand ‘touch’ from a Scriptural point of view.

There are both unclean and cleansing touches. If we are born of God then satan in all his wickedness cannot touch us (1 John 5:18). Here it is important to understand that as in the case of Job, satan can attack all that is ours including our very bodies but he cannot touch the essence of our life which is our soul. It is the soul with the presence of the Holy Spirit that is in touch with God. The most important touch or contact we will ever make.

A second important touch is the healing touch. Jesus displayed this often as in Matthew 8:3. Being near His very presence was healing whether there was physical contact or not. Today some people have a similar effect. In fact a healing touch might be something as simple as offering a hug when needed or perhaps just a listening ear.

Touch when done according to God’s plan should purify and strengthen. That happens best through spiritual connection. Today there seems again a desire for some sort of spiritual connection to a higher power. If it is not with the one true God then it must be avoided. It is here we must test the spirit as God’s gift of free will may cause us to be in contact with the wrong spirit (1 John 4:1). We must know if the spirit who wishes to touch our lives is from self (brought on by our own emotional state) or satan, or is it the very Spirit of God representing the truth of Scripture who wishes to KEEP IN TOUCH.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: A touch from God will with time lead us to His throne.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 John 5:18 “when satan cannot touch us”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I desire to be in touch with You 24/7.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What does it mean to be born of God?
  2. Does your presence before others have a healing affect in some form?
  3. Do you offer hugs and a listening ear?
  4. How can we bring a wrong spirit upon ourselves?

EVERY GOOD BLESSING FROM ABOVE

It starts out “once upon a time a man with a speech impediment was healed”. Not an uncommon scenario in the life events of Christ but one that has special meaning when we look at it from the standpoint of Mark 7:31-37. The healing took place in Sidon, a far off place, not in the normal travel path of Christ and therefore I believe bears special consideration. Sidon not only was a great distance away from normal travel but was also pagan in make up and therefore not where you would expect Christ to be.

For me it is interesting the process that brought the healing about and the method used. The process, as it would be for us, began with a desire that someone has to be cured of their illness. No one is truly healed unless they want to be whether of their own accord or convinced and aided by someone else’s assistance. The examination as it did in today’s text requires questions such as: why do you choose the person to heal you that you do and do you truly believe in their skills? These for a Christian when it relates to our sins are repentance questions that test the sincerity of our action.

Once it is established that a person truly wants healing, be it from sin or illness, then the method is to be considered. In the example in Mark 7 we see that it is somewhat unusual having Christ use His spittle on the tongue and plugging his ears with his fingers. That divine touch that becomes very personal is not unlike spiritual healing that we may seek where without Christ’s presence within our heart (Holy Spirit) healing cannot begin. Once that is in place then as Christ did with the hearing impaired individual so we need to look at our Father in Heaven and build that line of communication that brings the healing to bear and allows for us to have 0ngoing communication for other needs or communication as time passes by. For indeed EVERY GOOD BLESSING COMES FROM ABOVE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Healing happens when we look toward Heaven with the Holy Spirit in our heart.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Mark 7:31-37 ” the process of healing through Christ”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for healing.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are some ways that we can send a message without words?
  2. What vehicles did Christ use that carried healing power (ex. oils)?
  3. What emotions did Christ show during his time on earth?
  4. What was the process and method Christ used in His healing others?

MEDICINES IN THE BIBLE

There is no greater healer than God. It would therefore seem reasonable to look to His Word for prescriptions on caring for an illness. In the world we live in today many run to the doctor at every little sneeze never letting the human body develop its own immune system properly. This was not always the case as oral tradition in the culture from which Jesus came (and lived in) taught that minor ailments be left alone although Jesus clarified this somewhat in how He approached His work as the Great Healer.

Today we want to look simply at medicine. What is used and for what purpose. Top of the list is olive oil and wine. Christ Himself shared their medicinal value when He spoke the words recorded in Luke 10:34. In fact wine in His time (as is often so today) was used to ease the pain in the final moments of life or to overcome debilitating grief.

Today natural healing is coming back perhaps more so than ever. Companies are sharing the essential oils from plants God has given us to not only heal but bring our senses into the full realization God intended for them. Ezekiel 47:12 tells us “their leaves will be used for medicine”. Thankfully natural healing is showing a revival.

Within this healing there is also the element of proper nutrition and the use of olive oil to heal wounds (Isaiah 1:6) and for general wellness. In fact the study of medicine AS GOD WOULD HAVE US UNDERSTAND is such a huge area that it bears each of us looking into it further. Today we simply touched on a few ideas relating to MEDICINES IN THE BIBLE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  Scriptural medication for mankind are meant for more than nominal healing.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Luke 10:34 “medicinal value of oil and wine”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord show me Your plan for healing.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How do you handle illness?
  2. What preventive care steps are you taking?
  3. Have you, or are you, interested in studying God’s healing plan through roots and leaves?
  4. What in olive oil and wine gives it a medicinal effect?

OUR CALLING!

An area of understanding for every Christian is that which pertains to miracles. They are intended to manifest God’s glory and so much more. The greatest was the Virgin birth when God became man. In addition to this the miracle that crowned Jesus ministry I believe was His raising Lazarus from the dead after his body had been decaying for four days (John 11:17). This emblematic of His own resurrection that would occur one day.

So what is it we should understand about miracles. First is that true miracles require supernatural intervention. In that regard we have to be careful for even the devil can perform miracles. Christ Himself said as much in Matthew 24:24. In the end time these ‘devilish’ miracles will be a sign of the anti-christ (Revelations 14:13). In contrast every supernatural act of Jesus was a spiritual sign meant to lead others to a saving faith. Each miracle was also carefully timed expressed in John 2:4. Examples of this are Sarah giving birth in old age. Certainly supernatural and pointing to our one true God’s plan.

A miracle though not necessary for faith should aide in bringing people to faith (Matthew 11:20-21). Many throughout human history have used miracles to believe in Jesus name (ex. John 2:23) calling ourselves Christian but we still hold back from having faith in Him completely. Indeed faith itself is a miracle.

Miracles are to awaken in us a consciousness of God not just resolve a human need. As Christ shared in John 6:26 it should bring us to seeking Him. It is the good that comes out of every evil. Paul as shared in Acts 14:8-18 used miraculous events to  lead people to Christ.

At this point in time we can still expect miracles. Christ shared these words with us prior to His Resurrection in Mark 16:17-18. Indeed outside of proclaiming the Gospel and organizing new churches our ministering to others in sometimes miraculous ways is OUR CALLING.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Miracles are messages from our Master of His love for mankind.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: John 2:4 “timing of miracles”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I always minister according to Your will.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Why are miracles important?
  2. What spiritual significance does each Scriptural miracle have?
  3. How do you distinguish between demonic miracles and those of God?
  4. What are examples of good coming out of evil?

HOW HEALING WORKS!

A part of ministry that is often misunderstood is that of healing and what the Scriptures have to tell us about the subject. We hear of healing events by pastors and others and yet our human nature places doubt in our minds and so I believe it is important to look at the act of healing from the perspective of the great healer of all time Christ Jesus. One example of this healing ministry that Christ performed frequently is recorded in Matthew 14:34-36. First it should be noted that this instance came about as did much of Christ’s ministry through the spreading of the word of his actions. Today also no matter what the situation the word of mouth message is what draws many to an event, place or person. Sadly we need to spread that word more in the sharing of our faith yet many are quiet when it comes to that.

At this time in Christ’s ministry on earth people were not so bashful or reserved. They were ‘out and loud’ as one t-shirt I recently saw declared for another cause. The people encouraged others to seek Christ and they did in today’s Scriptural reading. Imagine if we who claim the Christian faith did that today how full and ‘loud’ our churches would be. Christians in fact as today’s text shows should be fascinated to be a part of something great. A movement that will end in an eternal life unimaginable for those who truly desire it.

In verse 36 we see that the power of Christ was even available at the outermost part of His shawl. Today Christ can heal us whether in large congregational environments or at a campfire where two people come together for prayer and conversation. The condition for healing is not the location but the connection to Christ. In fact anyone who touches Jesus can be made whole in the broadest sense of the term. That is HOW HEALING WORKS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Healing happens in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE OF TODAY: Matthew 14:36 “the condition of healing is to connect with Christ”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I seek Your healing.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Where is the danger for those who seek healing in relics rather than their faith?
  2. How can each of us do a better job of spreading the message of Christ to others?
  3. What great manifestations of God’s power do we have now and will have in Heaven?
  4. Why has the US and Europe lost their fascination with the Christian faith?

 

FAITH THAT IS BINDING

An interesting spiritual lesson can be learned from the text recorded in Matthew 9:18-26 which details the story of raising the daughter of Jarius from the dead by Jesus. This was one of 3 such experiences recorded in Scripture and highlights one of the 4 type of miracles that we see Jesus perform during His ministry. The others being removing demons, affecting weather and healing. When Christ was involved in such a healing or miracle we see that it could either be by touch, word or a combination of the two and it invariably affected a wider range of people in the vicinity. It seems that as in this situation that the only requirements were in addition to the presence of Christ that there be a softened heart and humility. With that in place Christ would utter only two words “talitha cumi” meaning maiden arise. When done according to the will of God and for His glory the outcome was inevitable.

Today, as it was for Jarius, death and illness should drive us to Christ. It should make our relationship all the stronger and it should be the message when ever someone has passed on at their funeral service. We need to believe even when all hope seems lost. Only Christ and His power can raise us to life if not on earth then certainly for eternity. Today each of us have an opportunity to build with Christ a FAITH THAT IS BINDING.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Faith flourishes when fully found in our Savior.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Matthew 9:18-26 “true faith”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord give me the faith of Jarius.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How strong is your faith?
  2. Do you come to Jesus in all situations?
  3. How are the miracles of Jesus seen in the world today?
  4. Will you be able to believe when all hope seems lost?

HAVING A FEW FRIENDS OVER FOR A MEAL!

There is only one miracle I am told that is in all 4 Gospels and that is the feeding of the 5000. It happens as a result of a crowd gathering to hear Christ’s message and bring their sick to Him. The time was difficult as Jesus had just heard about his first cousin John the Baptist’s beheading and they may well have been tired from their other journeys yet the crowds came.

Christ as we know did not turn anyone away nor scold them for their desires but rather in an orderly manner went about His work. The miracle was that a few loaves of bread and a few fish were turned into a feast for the 5000 men and their families who had gathered and when it was all over there were still 12 baskets of ‘crumbs’ left that were gathered up.

The message in this miracle are many beginning with the fact that although I suspect most thought it ludicrous that these few rations could feed a moderate size city we are to always be obedient. Mankind in difficult circumstances tend to focus on the problem when our focus as followers of Christ is to put that focus on Him. It is as one popular Christian hymn verse tells us which is to always “turn our eyes upon Jesus”.  Doing so we know Jesus will give what He promises and that in the vernacular of some is what is truly ‘cool’.

It is time our society understand that our Lord and Savior wants us to know fulfillment both  physically and spiritually (body, soul and spirit). His entry point for each of us may be different meeting us where our needs are but we should never doubt that He is all sufficient to meet every need. After we understand this then it is time we go out and help others. TO HAVE A FEW FRIENDS OVER FOR A MEAL (and so much more).

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: We each should make meaningful miracles like our Master for the multitude.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Luke 9:10-17 “the message from the 5000”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord help me serve others as you have served us.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are ways that you can multiply what you have for the benefit of others?
  2. Is there a message in how people are to be helped by feeding the soul and person at the same time?
  3. What organizations most represent this type of ministry in our society today?
  4. Do you believe in a policy of ‘waste not, want not’ as you are going through life?

DOCTORS ONE AND ALL

To follow in the footsteps of Christ would ask of each of us to be a part of the healing community which was one of Christ’s 3 main ministries. We are able to do that each time we hear the cry of someone like David in Psalm 41:4 where he uses the words: “Lord…heal my soul for I have sinned against You”. When we cause someone to turn away from sin (James 5:19-20) we are performing the greatest form of healing which is to save someone from spiritual death. Christ Himself emphasized this in His own words noted in Luke 13:5. The gift of healing is one of the gifts of the Spirit given to the body of Christ as Paul shared in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 12:27-28).

Nevertheless we must understand that all spiritual healing to be complete lies only in God as the prophet Jeremiah understood (Jeremiah 17:14) and through Christ (Isaiah 53:5). A Lord and Savior that can be known through God’s Word.

Today it is important we open our hearts to that Word and repent of  our sins as Solomon did (2 Chronicles 7:14). Then and only then will spiritual healing begin. Assisting in this procedure we can be DOCTORS ONE AND ALL.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Spiritual healing is necessary for those with a heart for Heaven.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 2 Chronicles 7:14 “Spiritual healing begins with repentance”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I repent of all my sins.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What were and are Christ’s 3 main ministries?
  2. How can we help make people aware of their sin?
  3. How do you pray when asking for healing for yourself or others?
  4. What are the steps to recovery in spiritual healing?

FREE FROM DISEASE!

One area that I am woefully lacking in is understanding the full meaning of what 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us which is that “our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit”. Furthermore that verse tells me we are not our own. Therefore if I am a steward of what God has given me, I must also be over my body.

The question then is how do I honor God with my body. One obvious answer is taking on proper nourishment. Numerous verses in Scripture address this such as 1 Timothy 4:3 and 5:23 among others. That topic alone has filled volumes of books. Most conclude it is simply a matter of eating with common sense from the basic food groups. Neither giving in to anything that would cause us to neglect, over indulge or idolize our bodies.

It is important to understand that sin has a consequence on our body. Christ references it as an unclean spirit in Matthew 12:43-45. In fact when the Holy Spirit is not present numerous wicked spirits can take over our bodies bringing sickness along. Just one example of this is moral looseness such as Proverbs 7:22-27 addresses.

God may well let satan have permission to test us as He did Job with all sorts of calamities including poor health. Only when Job repented and understood that God alone can heal was health restored. Once that is understood then our body, soul and spirit will be properly aligned. Our focus will be on God and a sound Scriptural based program of exercise, nutrition and other areas of preventive care can be started. The answer to good health and care for our body,soul and spirit is to be dead to sin and alive to God. It is only then that we are truly FREE FROM DISEASE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Health happens when full spiritual healing occurs.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 6:19 “we are a temple of the Holy Spirit”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord heal me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What dietary advice does the Bible give?
  2. What are unclean spirits that can inherit our bodies?
  3. How does someone honor God with their body?
  4. What does it mean to be alive to God?

THE GIFT OF HUMAN TOUCH

The truth is without touch there would be no healing save for a miracle by God alone. This applies to the full range from all forms of medical practice to a simple hug offered in friendship. Unfortunately what God intended for good mankind’s sinful nature has corrupted.

One form of touch is in Scripture referred to as the ‘laying on of hands’. It was widely practiced in the Old Testament and is in the New Testament as well. One example is that of a blessing from God. Christ Himself encouraged this in Matthew 19:13. Here in particular it dealt with ‘little children’ when Christ prayed for and laid hands on them such as we do today  in the sacrament of baptism or dedication.

As mentioned earlier the act of healing through touch can most importantly be attributed to Christ. It was certainly recognized during His time on earth that He had a healing touch (Matthew 9:18). It is easily seen in the miraculous healings today in various ways though sadly many do not acknowledge God’s role in the event.

A final way (though Scripture speaks of others) is the use of hands to bestow the Holy Spirit upon someone. This act by the Apostles noted in Acts 8:17-18 was practiced in order to further God’s Kingdom.

Sadly, in our world today we have removed ourselves from all the good that can come from the laying on of hands. We have created a society where many if not most hold to the saying “keep your hands to yourself”. What happens when something good is restricted is that evil quickly fills in and hands now are used for all the wrong reasons. It is time to bring God back into the picture and ask for His oversight as we use THE GIFT OF HUMAN TOUCH.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Hands help humanity through the healing power of our Heavenly Father.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 8:3 “the healing touch”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord grant me the healing touch.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How had mankind’s sinful nature corrupted the simple act of human touch?
  2. What gives the human touch healing power?
  3. Is the Holy Spirit received yet today through the laying on of hands?
  4. How has human touch been important in your life?