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she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His
garment. For she said, "If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be
was meant by the fact that this woman "touched" His clothes?
There had to be people in that crowd who had touched him just because
they were thrust up against him by the jostling of the crowd. This is
not what was meant. There had to be people who grabbed a hold of Him in
some way to get his attention. They certainly made contact with Him but
they didn't "touch" Him. Then there was the woman who
knowingly touched just His garment, and Jesus knew right away that
someone had "touched" Him. He asks, "Who touched my
clothes?" Since Jesus is God and God is all knowing, He obviously
knew who had touched Him but He wanted to draw attention to the contact
she made with Him in contrast to the contacts that many others likely
had made. Because she "touched" Him, she was healed of her
illness immediately. What was different about her touch?
had a need that she knew the Lord could do something about. Her touch
was evidence of her sincere confidence that He could do what she knew
she needed Him to do. Her touch was not casual or just so she could say
she had touched Him and perhaps sell her story to the local gossip
columnists. Her contact was the result of her faith.
relationship with the Lord is much like that. There are many people who
say that they believe in God and what they mean is that they believe
that there is a God but they have never "touched" Him. Then
there are those who say that God has provided His Son to die for them
and to bear away their sin. They know He did it but it is not real to
them personally. They have not "touched" Him either. Then
there are those who knowing that they are sinners, also know that Christ
has the right and power to save them by forgiving their sins and they
"touch" Him by faith. They trust Him and they are truly saved.
These have "touched" the Lord much like the lady with the
issue of blood did in this story.
people have a headache and they know that taking an aspirin will cure
the headache. Knowing that aspirin works won't cure the headache,
however. Buying aspirin and having it available won't cure the headache,
either. A person might say that they have confidence in the aspirin in
both cases. But when one takes the bottle and takes the aspirin tablets
out of the bottle and swallows them with a glass of water, that is when
the aspirin tablets are able to cure the headache. They are then like
people who have "touched" the Lord and by faith have received
the benefit of the death of Christ at the cross.
can believe God is, and we can believe that God is able. But until we
have faith in the promise that "he who believes in Him is not
condemned (John 3:18)," we haven't "touched" the Lord and
His virtue or power does us no good. And I think it is wonderful that
the moment this woman's actions evidenced her confidence in the Lord by
her "touching" Him, He knew immediately that she had touched
Him and that His virtue (not hers) had healed her.
remember when I reached out and "touched" Him, do you? I have
also found out since trusting Christ for salvation, that the life of the
Christian gives us the opportunity to tap into the power of God for our
problems in life. But we can't just say that we are trusting Him, we
need to actually trust Him, that is, we need to "touch" Him,
to receive the benefit of the promises He has made.
for the week of March 2, 2008
9:17 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after
that the children of Israel would journey; and in the place where the
cloud settled, there the children of Israel would pitch their tents.
have friends with GPS systems in their cars. Some of the systems are
very sophisticated and will guide them around traffic congestion and
will tell them just how many feet it is until the next turn. However,
they have to trust them and they have to obey the instructions for the
the systems to be useful. I have a friend who didn't think the
directions from his system were making sense and went the way he
"thought was right". He ended up in a traffic jam. Many of us
do that in spiritual things. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:25,
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way
of death." Using God's GPS requires us to depend on what He says
and to obey what He has said in His Word. Then God's Piloting System
will not fail us. Many people miss out on God's salvation because they
do not let God do the piloting.
of us have had the joy of being in the right place at the right time and
knowing that God has used us to speak for Him or to minister to sheep in
His flock. But when we were used in that way, we were using God's
Piloting System. In Acts 9, Philip used the system and saw an
influential man traveling in a chariot saved and baptized. In Acts 16,
Paul used the system and instead of going into Asia Minor or Turkey with
the Gospel, he got his Macedonian call and went to Greece. In Acts 16,
twice Paul tried to go where he thought he should go and he was stopped.
Then when his heart burn kept him from sleeping soundly and he got his
vision of the man from Greece wanting his help, Paul knew right away why
he wasn't allowed to go to Turkey. Sometimes God's Piloting System says
set up camp and wait. Other times it tells us to get moving.
a closed door or unfavorable circumstances can be interpreted as Satan's
resistance to a Godly project or it can be interpreted as God's
resistance to an ungodly project. An open door or favorable
circumstances can be interpreted as God's blessing or as Satan trying to
deceive us into taking the easy way instead of the hard way. So how are
we to read God's Piloting System?
believe that when the Lord is guiding there will be a burning desire
that can't be forgotten placed in our hearts with regard to the work we
are called to do. The old testament prophets had "burdens".
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:16, "Woe is me if I do not preach the
gospel!" Overseers should desire the work that they are called to
do (1 Timothy 3:1). Then of course we need to pray about it and we need
to make sure that what we want to do is Scriptural. We may want to talk
to others about it, but in our day there are not very many people who
are giving spiritual advice with regard to how to serve the Lord. Many
are giving advice that "makes sense." God's way often does not
make sense. It doesn't make sense that the Gospel should be a free gift.
It doesn't make sense that sometimes God sends us to do works that do
not appear to be productive. When Isaiah finally got himself cleansed
and consecrated in Isaiah 6, he was willing to volunteer for duty. The
Lord told him to go but warned him that the people wouldn't listen and
that from a natural point of view, his mission was doomed to failure.
Even the Lord's disciples were told that the servant is not better than
his master and that they would experience the same rejection that the
Lord was experiencing (Matthew 10:25).
we use the Lord's GPS, sometimes others will encourage our work, other
times they will discourage us. Sometimes our work will seem successful
while other times it will seem like we failed. Sometimes we will be
camped and sometimes we will be on the move. But we will be where we are
supposed to be when we are supposed to be there, and we will know the
joy that comes from being used by the Lord to advance His kingdom.
for the week of March 9, 2007
he goes in, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says,
"Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My
disciples?"' Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished
and prepared; there make ready for us." So His disciples went out,
and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and
they prepared the Passover.
when we travel, people invite us to their homes. If we have never been
there before, they tell us how to get there and what to expect when we
arrive. My experience is that there is a COIK fallacy in the directions
given. The COIK fallacy says that directions are Clear Only If Known.
That is they are perfectly clear to the person giving the directions but
quite frequently they are not so clear when we are following the
directions. Often when we arrive at the house that we think is our
destination we say, "That looks like the place." Sometimes the
place that we are looking at is the place and sometimes it is not.
the Lord gave directions, they were easy to follow because he sent a man
ahead to lead the disciples to this upper room. When they arrived,
everything was just as they had been told. There was no COIK fallacy.
Lord has invited us to a place where we have never been before and He
has given us written directions as to how to get there. The place where
we are invited is called THE FATHER'S HOUSE. We read about that place in
John 14:2. Our instructions for getting there are given in verse 6. No
one comes to the Father except through the Lord Himself. We must trust
Him if we are going to have access to His Father's house. The Lord has
prepared a place for us by dying at the cross of calvary. He has sent
the Holy Spirit into world to guide us so we won't get lost. But when we
get to the Father's house, what will the Father's house be like? I
believe it will be just like He has told us.
Luke 15 we read about the Father's house in the story of the prodigal
son. It was a place where a sinner who repented was received with joy
while a righteous son who believed he never did anything wrong would not
enter. For the prodigal, it was a place of rejoicing. It was where he
got a kiss, a robe, a ring, shoes and a party. It was a happy place for
the son who knew he didn't deserved to be there, but it was a sad place
for the son who thought he had been cheated out of the reward that he
deserved because he had tried so hard. From a natural stand point, I
understand what the elder son felt. The problem is that he didn't
understand that he didn't always obey either. He had been asked to join
the party by his Father and "he would not." He didn't realize
that he also was rebellious, but his rebellion was of a different kind
than his brother's.
often wonder what heaven or the Father's house will be like. Will it be
like we expect? It appears to be a vacation wonderland in Revelation 22.
I know we will enjoy good company because the redeemed of the Lord will
be there. There will be good conversation because we will be talking
about the Lord and the wonderful things that he did in our lives so that
we would be convinced of His love and end up in that place. Best of all
the Lord will be there.
believe that whether we end up there by the avenue of death or whether
we end up there because of the rapture, the Father's house will seem
like home to us. When the disciples got to the upper room they
"found it just as He had said to them." When we get to heaven,
I believe we will also find it just as He has said to us.
for the week of March16, 2008
8:2 "And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the
way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to
know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or
children of Israel had been wandering for forty years in the wilderness.
They are now about to enter the promised land and wars are about to be
fought. They need to be encouraged and so Moses does this by reminding
them of the great things God has done for the nation. Those who are
younger than forty years old will not have remembered the night when the
children of Israel were thrust out of Egypt because the first born of
Egypt had died. They will not remember feeling boxed in by the Red Sea
when the Egyptians changed their minds about letting them go and began
pursuing them. They will not have remembered how the Red Sea opened up
and became a means of deliverance for Israel and a means of destruction
for the army of Egypt. They will not have remembered standing at the
mountain that burned with fire and having God speak to the nation from
the mountain. But they need to know that heritage in order to believe
that the same God who did these miracles for their parents, will do
great things for them. Those who were twenty when these things happened
would be sixty years old now. They too needed to be reminded of these
things though they experienced them in their youth and in many cases
would remember them. The fighting men who were older than twenty when
they failed to go into the land the first time have now all died except
for Caleb and Joshua and Moses. There may be some women who are older
than sixty in the congregation but by and large a new generation needed
to be reminded of its heritage.
are told not to live in the past. But the past contains lessons for the
future. When we cease to remember where we have come from, we will be
more likely to repeat the mistakes of the past. If we are acquainted
with the great things that God has done for us and our forefathers in
the past, it will encourage us to believe that he can do great things
for us in the future.
of us have stories that we could and should share with a new generation.
Missionaries have written memoirs so that others can be encouraged by
the great things that God has done for them. They have included their
hardships so that those who come along behind them are not surprised
when difficulties arise. Most of us would not consider ourselves
missionaries, but we have likely seen the Lord intervene in our lives in
miraculous ways that have convinced us of the practical reality and
presence of the Lord at those times. We need to share those experiences
with a younger generation so that they will be encouraged to be faithful
to the Lord. We don't share those experiences to promote or exalt
ourselves but to encourage a younger generation to step out in faith on
the God we trust.
can be good. The new generation needed to remember that God blessed the
nation when they were obedient and that even Miriam, Moses sister, was
judged when she became self-willed (Numbers 12:10).
reminds us that our Saviour lives and that He is coming again. The
Lord's Supper reminds us that we have a Savior who didn't ask us to die
for Him for us to be saved, but rather He died for us so that we could
be saved. We need to tell the stories of our conversions from time to
time to remind ourselves and others that God does love us personally. We
need to share the stories of the great things God has done for us so
that our children will not get discouraged when the spiritual path of
obedience and devotion to the Lord gets tough. The God who has done
great things in the lives of our forefathers and who has done great
things in our lives, is the the same God that can and will do great
things in the lives of our children if they will just commit their way
to Him (Psalm 37:5).
for the week of March 23, 2008
1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this
prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is
the Bible seems like such an outdated activity. Our grandparents may
have done it, but the rest of us seem to have progressed to material
that is more current, more popular and more interesting. But there is a
blessing associated with reading the Bible and a special blessing is
associated with reading the book of Revelation. The psalmist says that
reading the Word of God gives light or understanding if we actually
think about the words we are reading (Psalm 119:30). Paul says hearing
the Word of God will produce saving faith (Romans 10:17).
reading the Bible is not popular in many settings, criticizing the Bible
is very popular. I was privileged recently to be involved in a college
level debate dealing with whether science and faith can coexist. And of
course what was meant was, "Can faith in the God of the Bible
coexist with faith in science?" What was interesting, however, was
the willingness of the students to criticize a Bible they had never
completely read. I could understand that in other settings, but colleges
are supposed to teach students how to learn and how to think critically
which means that they are supposed to research their positions and
facts. Of course, that wasn't true of all of those who had dismissed the
Bible. One rather vocal young man said that we should all read the Bible
because it would make atheists out of us like it did him. I don't think
he had done a statistical sample of those who were atheists to see if
that was true but he claimed to be a scientist and a critical thinker.
have read the Bible for many years and I like what I read. I believe
that ultimately we all believe what we want to believe. And I want to
believe the Bible. Those who question it have not proven to me that it
is wrong nor have they given me anything better to believe. I can give
evidence that supports the truth of the Bible, but I can't prove that it
is in all respects true either. I believe that it is true based on
inductive reasoning. If I do business with a person that keeps their
promises every time i do business with them, then I will likely believe
that the next time I do business with them that they will keep their
promises. That is inductive reasoning. It is that type of reasoning that
gives me confidence in the Bible. When I realize that the Bible
describes things about me that I have never told my closest friends,
when I look at the prophetic Word and see how precisely it was fulfilled
in the Lord's first coming, when I see how the book of Revelation
completes the unfinished seventh day of the book of Genesis that has no
evening or morning mentioned, then I have good reason to believe that
this Bible is the very Word of God. That is inductive reasoning, and we
who are saved call it faith.
am convinced that reading the Bible with an open mind will bless us. I
am convinced that reading the book of Revelation will be especially
encouraging since it promises us that Christ is coming again and that He
will defeat his enemies. He is not defeated like it appeared He was when
He was crucified. I want to believe that I have a place in heaven and
that no matter what happens here on earth, I have a better home to look
forward to. I want to believe that and so far no one has given me
anything better to believe. Until they do, I am going to trust in the
Word of God, and I am going to keep reading and rereading it. I believe
that trusting in the Creator God who wrote the Bible and sent His Son to
pay the penalty that my sin deserved is the wise and intelligent thing
for the week of March 30, 2008