FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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Do You See What God Sees?

Years ago a colleague (Mary) said, “One day you look in the mirror and you ask yourself who in the world is that?  You feel so young in spirit and even in mind, but your neck, hands and that person in the mirror will tell you otherwise!”  I laughed, and Mary simply said, “You’ll see.”

It’s 23 years later, and Mary’s “prophecy” has come true!

I tried to blame it on the mirror.  You know, since research has proven that there are “skinny” mirrors (sometimes used in dressing rooms to make you appear slimmer in clothing and to boost sales), I figured there must be “old” mirrors though for the life of me I cannot imagine why someone would create one.  And who would buy one though obviously I had one?  But there they are…crows feet, scratching all around my eyes.  Take heart, they’re not alone; the gray hairs in my brows are keeping them company!

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Do you see that you were fearfully and wonderfully made? (Psalm 139:14)

Do you see the apple of God’s eye? (Psalm 17:1)

Do you see God’s treasured possession? (Deuteronomy 7:6)

Do you see that you are made in the image of God? (Genesis 1:27)

Do you see what God sees?

Satan offers us trick mirrors.  He would have us see ourselves as less than our God created us to be.  In his mirrors we see all our shortcomings. We see our struggles and inferiorities.  We see shame and embarrassment.  We see the stain and guilt of sin.

But if our life is hidden with Christ in God – if we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, then whenever God looks at us, He sees Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God covering us.

Superstition says it’s bad luck to break a mirror, but I say smash whatever mirror Satan keeps holding before you and look into the mirror of God.  See what He sees – YOU – His child. (John 1:12)  A new creature. (2 Corinthians 5:17)  A fellow heir with Christ. (Romans 8:17)  The righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)  A temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:17)  One who is chosen, holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4), redeemed and forgiven (Ephesians 1:7), complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10) and dearly loved (Colossians 2:12).

Now that’s the mirror you need!

THIS WEEK, take a look in the mirror.  Do you see what God sees?


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Defined by an Issue

“And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.

And Jesus said, “Who touched me?” When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, “Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, ‘Who touched me?’”

And Jesus said, “Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.”

And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.

And he said unto her, “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” Luke 8:43-48 (KJV)

I think no woman can even begin to imagine having “an issue of blood” for twelve years! Twelve months would be unbearable; twelve days alone is debilitating, but twelve years?! Try to imagine this woman’s life. The Law made it clear that unless her bleeding ceased for at least seven days, everyone and everything she touched would be deemed unclean and cursed, just as she was.

I imagine her as the subject of idle gossip and ill-intended chitchat because everyone knew about her issue. I suspect some didn’t even know her name; she was defined by her issue. And I picture her isolated, outcast, alone and lonely yearning not just for healing but for companionship and friendship.

What “issue” is defining you?

Be honest with yourself.

Do people know you as an adulterer? Do co-workers raise their eyebrows when you speak because you are a liar? Has the PTA and playground crowd tagged you as a bad mother? Is the Bridge Club whispering in the corner because you’ve been an unfaithful wife? Have your friends labeled you as wishy-washy? Or narcissistic? Maybe unreliable? Possibly bossy? Does your employer consider you incompetent? Lazy? Unproductive? Are you a troublemaker? A quitter?

Has your “issue” isolated you?

Do people avoid you, make excuses to shorten their conversations with you and always seem to have somewhere to go when you appear on the scene?  Or does shame make you keep to yourself?  Might you be afraid to show your real self because of your “issue?”

That’s how it was for Luke’s woman. For twelve years the woman in Luke’s story was identified and isolated by her issue.

Mark shares this same story in his Gospel with a few more details. A key one is found in Mark 5:27-28 (KJV) which says, “When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, ‘If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.’”

Therein lies the secret to our “issues.” Jesus.

The context of this story conveys another important point for us. Jesus was not alone. He was in a crowd. The woman touched Jesus, and He asked, “Who touched me?” Peter and the other disciples don’t believe their ears. “Who touched You? You have to be kidding? Who, in this crowd, didn’t touch You? People are everywhere.”

But Jesus knew there had been a special touch, a seeking touch, a believing touch, a power-filled touch. Jesus knew the woman needed a touch, and He knew the exact moment when she had touched His garment.

And He knows that you need His touch as well!

Make note of three quick points. Jesus asks, “Who touched me” then, according to Mark, “looked round about to see her that had done this thing.” This woman had broken the Law, and here is Jesus putting her on blast. If anyone hadn’t seen her, they saw her then. Mark and Luke tell us that the woman fell at Jesus’ feet. Luke says the woman “declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.” Mark concludes this story with Jesus telling the woman to “go in peace and be healed.”

In calling attention to the woman, Jesus brought glory to God identifying Him as the Healer. Point One – Your “issue” is not just about you. Lay it at Jesus’ feet and permit Him to heal you and to bring glory to God. Point Two – Healing requires boldness to overcome the fear of what others may say about you and your “issue.”

Jesus told the woman to go and be healed. Wasn’t she healed when she touched His garment? The bleeding stopped, but the healing was incomplete. Sheila Walsh suggests the woman needed healing from shame, disappointment, self-hatred and the burden that the “issue” had been. Jesus knew that the woman needed to be made whole; she needed salvation. Point Three – Christ works in our lives well beyond the point at which we first come to faith.  He desires that we become whole in Him.

“Issues” of blood are draining. After extensive bleeding, anemia is likely. The Mayo Clinic tells us that as the body becomes increasingly deficient in iron, anemia worsens and signs and symptoms intensify. Symptoms vary but may include extreme fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, dizziness or lightheadedness and, eventually, death.

“Issues” of the heart are no different. Isn’t it time for you to lay yours at Jesus’ feet?

Read Mark 5:27-34 this week and ponder the daily questions for reflection.

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.” And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said unto him, “Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, ‘Who touched me?’”

 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

And he said unto her, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”

 

Monday Questions for Reflection:   What is your “issue?” How has it caused you to suffer? How is it defining you?

Tuesday Questions for Reflection:   The Law prohibited the woman from touching others no doubt leaving her feeling isolated, abandoned and lonely. How does your “issue” isolate you from others?  Are you choosing to isolate yourself – your REAL self?

Wednesday Questions for Reflection:   The woman risked breaking the Purity Law and pressed through a crowd to touch Jesus’ garment. What risks must you take to be free of your “issue?” What or whom is keeping you from Jesus?

Thursday Questions for Reflection:   Jesus told the woman her faith had made her whole. Do you have the faith necessary to experience God’s miracle in your own life? Are there areas in your life that you do not yet trust to God? What are they? What keeps you from trusting?

Friday Questions for Reflection:   The woman, fearing and trembling, fell at Jesus’ feet and, before the crowd, told Jesus everything. Testimony of healing is powerful. Will you lay your “issue” at Jesus’ feet, be healed and share your testimony with others?  Who needs to hear your testimony?


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The Lifter of My Head

Over the past few days I have been reflecting on the many names of God. Someone once asked, “Why? Why so many names for the One true and living God?” Well, consider the many names we have for our family members and friends. Formal names and more intimate names that attest to our relationships. Mom, mommy, Mommy Dearest (smile, couldn’t resist). Dad, Pops, Daddy, Father. My Sweetie. My Honey. My Boo Boo Kitty.

Every Name of God attests to His character – who He is as well as to a relationship we can have with Him.

I think of God and pray to God using a variety of names with one of my favorite and most used being “Abba Father.”  It has long been supposed and broadly accepted that the ancient Aramaic word “Abba” is a term of familiarity that a young child might use to address his/her Daddy or Papa. That’s big for me; I was a bona fide Daddy’s Girl, so that my God would allow me to approach Him and to address Him as Daddy is big. But that He would embrace me, open His arms to receive me and His ear to hear my cries as His child? Wow! That’s even bigger.

But another Name has been on my heart. I woke one morning last week with it on my mind. It comes from Psalm 3:3 (ESV). “You, O Lord are…the lifter of my head.” The Lifter of My Head. Double Wow.

So many things, so many experiences make us hang our heads. Sometimes from shame, possibly from confusion, perhaps from exhaustion, maybe a sense of defeat or overwhelming grief. We hang our heads. We hang our heads. I’m convinced that sometimes we don’t even realize our heads are hanging; we have become accustomed to and accepted the defeat of that posture, so let me repeat. He is the lifter of our heads.

This Scripture paints for us a word picture, so make sure you get the complete picture. Naturally, in times of trouble, we hang our heads. So, it would follow to reason that as the lifter of our heads, God brings us out of whatever it is that caused our heads to hang. But go a little deeper. It also means that He will bring us into a situation and time that will cause our heads to be held high. There are several examples in Scripture where heads were lifted up. 2 Kings 25:27 tells us that the King of Babylon lifted up the head of Jehoiachin out of prison, and Genesis 40 says that Joseph foresaw that Pharaoh would lift up the head of the cupbearer and restore him to his position.

If men – Kings, Pharaohs – can lift heads and restore positions and wealth, just think what God can do for us!

It is David who is telling us in Psalm that God will be the lifter of his head. Understand the context of this passage. David’s son, Absalom, had rebelled against him and turned the people of Israel against him causing David to flee Jerusalem with little more than the clothes he was wearing. 2 Samuel 15 says that David climbed up the Mount of Olives, covered his head and wept. He hung his head.

David was King. He had resources at his hand. Though Absalom had turned the people of Israel against him, there were surely others that he could have turned to. He chose to turn to God. Why? You have to look closely at Psalm 3. Earlier in the passage David declared, “You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory” before adding “and the lifter of my head.” David’s choice of expressions – me and my – indicate a personal relationship and intimacy with God.

The past is irrevocable, irreversible and unchangeable. But Joel 2:25-27 (AMP) reads, “I will restore or replace for you the years that the locust has eaten…you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the Name of the Lord…I the Lord am your God and there is none else. My people shall never be put to shame.” Translation? He will lift your head!

Reflect on that this week!

Monday: Psalm 3:1 (NIV)

“Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me?”

Questions for Reflection:  What or Who is causing or has caused you to hang your head? Have you, like David, cried out to the Lord? If not, why not? If yes, what answer have you heard?

Tuesday: Psalm 3:2 (NIV)

“Many are saying of me, “’God will not deliver him.’”

Questions for Reflection:  Do you believe that God will deliver you? Why or why not?  What is the evidence of your belief?

Wednesday: Acts 4:12 (NIV)

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Questions for Reflection:  To whom or what have you been looking for strength, hope, restoration, salvation? How has that worked for you? What changes do you need to make?

Thursday: Psalm 3:6 (NIV)

“I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.”

Question for Reflection:  FEAR is false evidence appearing real. What “false evidence” have you accepted as truth? Jot down your fears and name specifically those things, people, emotions and situations that assail you. Pray very specifically about each one and make note of God’s responses to your prayers.

Friday: Psalm 3:8a (NIV)

“From the Lord comes deliverance.”

Questions for Reflection: Are you positioned and postured expecting deliverance? What are you doing in the meantime?


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Someone, Somewhere Needs to Hear Your Story

In honesty, I’ve second-guessed my last post.

I am typically a private person – sorta.  I talk.  A lot.  But I share what I want to share.  There are certain “topics” that I simply don’t discuss.  Decided that a long time ago.

So, I was the first person to be surprised by what my fingers were typing.  But, as I told a friend, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to share.  Still, though, I have been running this narrative in my head:

“Hmm, probably should’ve kept that to yourself.”

“That’s too much information.”

“Well, it’s out there now.”

And, since we are being open and honest, I will confess that I even thought, “Well, you could deny that it was YOUR story.”

And then, I was cleaning up one of my personal email boxes.  I don’t get to those boxes as often as I used to, so there are a lot of messages.  I am able to see the subject lines which helps me decide quickly whether I want to open the message and read it or simply delete it and move on.  One line caught my attention:  “Someone, Somewhere Needs to Hear Your Story.”

My first thought was, “Does God do email?”

Well, I know the answer.  “No.  He gets others to send it for Him.” (Smile)

Why do we keep our stories locked away in diaries, buried deep within ourselves and barricaded behind clenched teeth?  There are myriad reasons.  None good.  None excusable.  None acceptable.  Not really.

Oh, there’s shame, guilt, fear, pride…  Like I said, none good.

Acts 1:8 (NET) says, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Let’s just get three things straight.

  1. When the Holy Spirit comes to you, you shall be witnesses. Translation, you will speak and share how Jesus has worked in your life.    Yes, we are called to share the Gospel of the Good News and to tell others how they can be saved, but that is not all that we are called to share.  Our personal stories are the most powerful – especially those of how we were saved, healed, forgiven, restored…
  2. You shall be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the end of the earth. Translation, you will witness anywhere and everywhere.
  3. You shall be witnesses. Translation, you shall be witnesses.

One of the greatest testimonies ever recorded was that of a pagan emperor who came to know that the God of Israel was the only true and living God.  In Daniel 4:1-2 (NET) King Nebuchadnezzar testified to all peoples, nations and language groups living in the land, “I am delighted to tell you about the signs and wonders that the most high God has done for me.”  In 1 Chronicles 16:8 (NET), David directs the Israelites to “Give thanks to the Lord!  Call on His Name!  Make known His accomplishments among the nations!”

Not so comfortable telling all peoples, nations and language groups?  You probably don’t have to.  Just be obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and tell what He directs you to tell, when and to whom.

Someone, somewhere needs to hear YOUR story.