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TOUCHING JESUS

hem-of-his-garmentJesus stopped suddenly and turned toward the crowd that followed him, “Who touched me? Someone touched my clothes. Who was it?” A woman stepped forward and fearfully fell at His feet. “I did,” she confessed.

She had traveled 30 miles on foot to seek out a man who, just by the touch of his clothes, could heal the sick and diseased.

It was an unstoppable mission of faith fueled by an incurable blood disorder that made her ceremonially unclean (according to Mosaic Law) and socially unacceptable. In desperation, she reached out to Jesus for a miracle to relieve her physical and emotional suffering.

This faith empowered woman dared to act on her belief and it caught the attention of Jesus. When the unnamed woman stretched out her arm toward the Master’s garment, she was restored.

“Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.” Luke 8:7

Perhaps you are considered an outcast by friends, family or community members; someone in need of spiritual and physical restoration. Reach out to Jesus in faith and touch His garment like the woman of Capernaum. God promises that when we do, He will free us from our suffering.

“Daughter (or Son), your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:34

Jesus used the word ‘daughter’ as a term of endearment. It indicated to the unnamed woman she was no longer an outsider, but rather an accepted family member thanks to God’s grace. That same grace abounds today if we willingly throw ourselves into the path of Jesus and reach out to Him in total faith.

It wasn’t the cloak of Jesus that imparted healing; it was one woman’s persistent and unyielding faith in the power of Jesus that brought about a miracle.
Jesus will do the same for you if you reach out to Him.

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SLEEPING WITH DIRT

mattressDirt

In my mid-twenties I took a job selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. It ranks right up there with being one of the craziest things I have ever done. Every morning I linked up with the rest of the sales force in the basement of the Kirby store for a little pep rally. We would sing the Kirby anthem (and yes, they actually have one), pump ourselves up for victory with a few Kirby cheers, map out our territory and hit the road.

I sold one vacuum in my short three day stay with the company before I realized I wasn’t cut out to be a door-to-door sales person. Even though my Kirby employment was short lived there was one sales tactic never forgotten. It was the seal-the-deal, black cloth strategy.

If there was no sale after the free gift of knives, or cleaning every square inch of floor and furniture in their home, it was time to bring out the deal clincher, the black cloth.

The black cloth was placed over the bottom of the vacuum bag so customers could clearly see everything this robust machine could pick up. Clean sheets and pretty bed covers where pulled from one corner of the bed as the hand-held vacuum scanned the mattress. Dirt, dead skin and dust mites began to collect on the black cloth and it wasn’t a pretty sight.  The customer’s reaction was usually one of disgust coupled with shame. The black cloth revealed all the hidden dirt beneath the bedcovers.

It was at this point, the customer realized they needed to sign on the dotted line and claim ownership to a new Kirby vacuum cleaner if they wanted to remove the debris found on the black cloth.

How dirty is your mattress?

If God flipped back the outer coverings of your life, what would the black cloth reveal? Are you sleeping with unclean things? Are you bedding with sin?

Jesus stands ready to vacuum away the sins on the black cloth of your life. You only need to sign on the dotted line of salvation and redemption. The contract requires no payment other than the surrender of your sins (your dirty mattress).

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WALLS OF STONE

I have had the displeasure of meeting a handful of people who embody the phrase ‘heart of stone’.  Being a rather unorthodox Christian more descriptive phrases come to mind; words I pretend to never use, but do. When confronted with someone’s cold indifference and lack of empathy, my first line of defense is to erect a stone wall around the perimeter of my heart.

Wall of Stones

But sometimes I build stone walls for other reasons; offensive walls to keep people from discovering the real me. There is a wall hiding my insecurities and another wall shielding my past. I’m certain there are walls I have no memory of building; walls constructed to protect me from blows of hurt and heartaches I thought were long forgotten.

We all erect walls of stone around our heart.

When we accept Christ into our heart, both a spiritual and emotional transplant takes place within us. God performs reconstructive surgery and pumps the blood of Jesus into the black spots of sin to create in us a clean heart. But that doesn’t stop us from building stone walls to keep others from trespassing into the forbidden areas of our life.

 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” (Psalms 51:10)

Identify those things hidden behind your stone walls.

If you want to tear down stone walls, be willing to put a name to what is hiding behind your walls. And that’s not easy. Each time a wall of stone crumbles, we become vulnerable to the opinions and judgments of others.

Do any of these stone walls call out your name?

  • Emotionally Wounded
  • Forgotten
  • Betrayed
  • Cheated on Spouse
  • Gambling Addiction
  • Secretly Binge & Purge
  • Closet Drinker
  • Racist
  • Food Addictions
  • Self-Doubt
  • Compulsive Disorders
  • Depression
  • Obsessed with Porn

There are times in life when stone walls protect our heart from the adversary; but there are also times those walls isolate us from healing, recovery and support.

Take time to identify the names you have engraved on your stone walls. If they are walls that protect your salvation, grace and commitment to Christ, leave them intact. If the walls were erected to conceal guilt, shame and insecurities, I say get out the dynamite. Willie, from Duck Dynasty, sums it up like this.

“Let me tell you about Redneck logic…just blow it up.”

Let me tell you about God logic. It is about letting go of life’s garbage and blowing a hole in your spiritual heart so God can fill it with something better.

If you follow Duck Dynasty reality show, you know Phil’s snake filled duck blind was blown to smithereens.  It was replaced with something better. That is what Jesus does when we put on our hard hats and give Him permission to knock down our walls of stone.

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THE CHRISTMAS HAM

She was a petite woman in her late twenties. She hesitantly walked through the door of the grocery store with her head down. Her blue eyes displayed a sense of humbleness or possibly it was unworthiness. Fumbling in her handbag, she walked over to the store’s front desk situated near the check-out lanes. With deliberate slowness she pulled a piece of paper from the bag while looking around to see if anyone was watching.

The manager curtly snatched the paper from her hand and picked up the intercom to summon a stock boy to the counter. As the broadcast echoed through the store the young woman quickly backed away from the counter clutching her handbag in shame and embarrassment.

Within minutes, the stock boy returned to the front desk and handed the woman a Christmas ham. She meekly tucked it under her arm and quickly exited the store.

I remember that scene like it was yesterday. I was that young woman; a mom with no income, broken by divorce and feeling very alone. I stood waiting for a stock boy to deliver my free Christmas ham.

Sometimes life puts us in places we don’t want to be. No one is exempt. We all suffer hardships and losses that humble us and in our brokenness we are led to the front desk of God. As we stand before Him He sends out a broadcast message over heaven’s intercom “Jesus, we have a broken heart, please bring the free gift of salvation, restoration and forgiveness to the front desk.”

Jesus responds to the call, but He doesn’t just give us a Christmas ham; he includes all the side dishes, desserts and fixings for a complete meal.

It has taken thirty years for me to share my Christmas ham story without shame. As I share the story, two truths about God are revealed; truths He has proven over and over again in this earthly journey.

• We are never beyond the point of restoration, salvation or forgiveness in the eyes of God.

• God sees our broken hallelujahs as an opportunity to personally deliver a table set for a King.

“I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.” Joel 2:25

God placed this scripture in the heart of my mom as she prayed for me during those years of broken hallelujahs. God promised to restore to me three times what the cankerworm had destroyed. And you know what? God made good on His promise.

For those of you not familiar with the cankerworm, it is also known as an inch worm. It is an insect that spins a web of destruction, devouring and stunting any new growth. In the Bible, the cankerworm is compared to Satan, who seeks to destroy and devour.

If you are facing a crisis in your life that is causing you to bow your head in shame, I say this; stand ready for God to restore your wasted years. If the cankerworm has burrowed its way into your life and seeks to destroy, you need to boldly approach the front desk of God. Hand Him your ‘redemption’ coupon clipped from the pages of Joel 2:25.