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He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:34

She had nothing to offer him. Nothing that would set her apart from any of the other hundreds of people who pushed closer to see him. She was weak and tired. She’d long ago lost any hope of a normal life. Her prayers, up to this point had gone unanswered. Everything that she’d hoped to be and to have as a little girl was now nothing more than a shadow of an ugly past.

She was a social outcast. Her ‘disease’ labeled her as unclean. In her era, the fact that God had not healed her left her suspect. If she were ‘righteous’ he would not punish her so. The fact that her disease continued proved that she was a sinner, nothing more than a hopeless sinner.

She hadn’t been touched by a man in years. Her family kept their distance. She wasn’t allowed to go to the temple to worship anymore. She had nothing to offer. Nothing except a tenacious faith that said, “If I can just touch him. He doesn’t need to talk to me. He doesn’t even need to know I’m here. With all these people pressing in on him, he’ll be far too busy to even notice. Just one little touch….’

And with that she reached through the couple in front of her. It was just a moment. A moment in time that would change her for all time. Barely a brushing of his robe. A simple touch that stopped the world for an instant.

Have you ever felt like Jesus was too busy for your problems? Ever wondered why your prayers have gone unanswered? Ever bought into the things you’ve heard others say about you, or your kind? “Never amount to anything….God can’t use people like him/her…People never change, not her kind anyway.”

Take a lesson from the woman who, in her desperate faith simply reached out and touched him. She struggled with a physical condition but found spiritual healing. She gave up on religion but never gave up on Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t ask us to come to him cleaned up and ready for action. He simply asks us to come. He doesn’t look for explanations or proof of our worthiness. He simply wants to feel our touch on his robe.

Don’t ever give up. Don’t listen to the voices that tell you there is no hope; that you’ve made too many mistakes; that people like you can’t change. None of us can change who we are on our own strength. Tenacious faith in the living Son of God and reliance on his forgiveness and grace is the only thing we need to be free of the things of our past.

Reach through the crowd. Don’t be hampered by those who would discourage you. Touch his robe and let the healing begin.

PRAYER: Jesus, I’ve struggled with secret sin for so long and can’t seem to overcome it. I’ve listened to the voices of those who say I’m beyond hope. I’ve started to doubt your ability of desire to help me. I’ve given up on you. I’ve given up on me. I ask that you would feel my touch on your robe. Heal me of the things that are keeping me down. I have nothing to offer you except my belief that you and you alone, can change me. In your name I pray, Amen.

 


When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. Mark 6:34

Jesus had just received word that his cousin John had been brutally murdered by an evil King who was motivated by the jealous actions of his wife. We must never forget, when we read Bible passages, that these are real events in the lives of real people. What we read in the Bible are not just stories and fairy tales. The people involved had real feelings, got hungry, were lied to by friends, had financial hardship, got sick and all the other things you and me experience on an emotional plain.

Jesus was just a few months younger than John and I would imagine that even though they lived a distance apart, they saw each other often because Mary, Jesus’ mom, and Elizabeth, John’s mom, were very close.

Because of this you can well imagine the heartache and perhaps anger that Jesus felt when the word came to him. There was nothing fair about what happened to John. There was no justice in the palace. Only greed and power driven lust.

When the disciples returned from a preaching journey, Jesus suggested they get away and rest for awhile. He needed some time to mourn. They needed some time to rest from the rigors of ministry. Just a few days, maybe even a few hours.

We all know the feeling. Life gets so hectic. Things that hurt or disappoint us come and go with such haste that we barely have time to rest, time to think, time to mourn. The old adage ‘when it rains it pours’ is often very true. Calamity always seems to bring company.

They went to a quiet, solitary spot that Jesus and his disciples had visited before. It was on the far side of the lake, far from people, far from the hustle and bustle of life. But by the time they got there, word had spread of their approach. Rather than being met by a quiet spot by the lake, they were greeted by hundreds, maybe even thousands of people in need of Jesus’ touch.

He was tired. He was emotionally spent. He had compassion. Did you notice that? In the midst of Jesus’ despair and fatigue he had compassion on those who need his touch. Couldn’t it wait one day? Was anything so important that he had to be interrupted? Didn’t they realize that he had feelings too?

If you are ever up against the wall. If life seems to have put more on your plate than you can possibly handle. When people fail you (or you fail people). Remember this day in Jesus life. There is never a time when he is too tired or too distracted or too involved in other issues that he doesn’t have time for you.

Jesus will always have time for you regardless of how many times you come to him. Never let the enemy tell you otherwise.

PRAYER: Jesus, I thank you today for your love and compassion. I praise you for the truth that no matter what comes my way, you will always be there for me. Always willing to comfort, to guide, to forgive and to show compassion to me. Empower me by your Spirit to be able to rest in the comfort of your arms. In your name I pray, Amen.


Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Romans 12:11

The Apostle Paul admonishes us to keep up the energy level in our lives. If you have ever been around a new Christian you have an idea of what he is talking about. Someone who has just accepted Christ into their lives seem to manage to include Him in every conversation. They are excited about the new life they have found and have a peace that nothing can shatter.

Then, gradually, that fervor fades. Sometimes old habits start to show up. Old life style issues raise their ugly heads, and soon it’s hard to tell the difference between them and the rest of the world. Paul tells us to keep that fervor. Keep that excitement. Constantly remind yourself of what Jesus did on the cross for you.

That’s easy to say, but sometimes reality deals us some ugly blows. Perhaps the biggest thing that can be a ‘zeal zapper’ is our own failure to conquer bad habits or addictions in our lives. “Jesus heals. Jesus forgives. So why can’t I stop smoking, swearing, looking at porn, etc. etc.” We keep adding ‘things’ to our list to try to do better but nothing works. With each failure on our part the enemy reminds us that we aren’t worthy. He’ll tell us we aren’t really Christians. He’ll remind us that God is displeased with us. (By the way, that’s a lie. God is never displeased with us. He may be displeased with our actions but NEVER us.)

Another Zeal Zapper is the comparison game. We look at how others in our groups, churches, etc. have ‘mastered the Christian walk.’ Some of them even (not so grace-fully) tell us how we too can be just like them. We fill our lives with all sorts of activities to try to be better and only end up wanting to give up all together or suffering emotional, physical and spiritual fatigue. We lose heart when we realize we simply can not be like them. (Did I mention that God never tells us to be like other people? He tells us to follow Him and He is NOT a cookie-stamper God).

Zeal Zapper number three is disappointment with other people. Sometimes our expectations of others falls short when we put too much faith in them. Sometimes our expectations are shattered beyond recognition by the way we are treated by  Zeal Zapping, Grace killing Christians who feel it is their duty to make sure you follow their ten easy steps to spirituality. There was only one person perfect enough for us to emulate. Stop trying to live up to the standards you place on yourself or others place on you. Allow your relationship with Jesus Christ to form your identity. Then, press on along the journey of life knowing that whether you walk confidently or stumble, Jesus is at your side guiding you all the way.

Zeal Zapper number four is disappointment with God. Your Heavenly Father loves you dearly. Sometimes He doesn’t do things the way we expect or want. Sometimes God’s ways are just plain confusing! But His ways are the best ways. Trust means that we give God permission to place whatever He chooses in our way in order to make us more reliant on Him.

Don’t let the Zeal Zappers take away the joy you have in Christ. Failure will come. Disappointment will happen. But He is always there wanting to encourage and energize you for whatever life places in your way.

PRAYER: Father God. I’m tired. I’m tired of trying to live by other peoples standards. I’m tired of trying to measure up to what I think you want instead of growing in relationship. I’m tired of being judged by others who seem to think they know all the answers to the easy spiritual life. I ask that you would forgive me for trying human things to accomplish divine results. Empower me with Your Spirit to live grace-fully for you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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