I was recently reading the passage of scripture about the woman who touched the hem of Jesus garment while he was surrounded by a crowd of people. I’ve read that passage many times but this time the commentary that was given talked about how scandalous that would have been at that time in history. You see this woman had a bleeding problem that forbid her to participate in society like most women could. She was considered unclean which meant she could not go to the temple to worship, could not participate in normal social activities; it meant she was excluded. In today’s language she was “canceled.”
The commentary described what this woman did as ‘scandalous faith’. She did what was forbidden; she risked everything to touch the hem of Jesus garment. She was willing to be further ostracized because the possibility of healing was greater that the potential risk. She had nothing left to lose.
Touching someone’s clothes would hardly be scandalous behavior today. Given what is seen as acceptable in society today, I’m not sure what would be considered scandalous; except perhaps standing firm in my faith, speaking up about my faith and keeping on doing the best I can to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone who will hear. Maybe that is what it means today to have ‘scandalous faith’ – to speak up and step up even if society cancels me, even if friends no longer want to be connected to me, even if I’m considered crazy or dangerous by some.
Yes, I want to think I could have scandalous faith but I wonder if I would be more like the Pharisee who came to Jesus at night rather than during the day when everyone would see.
Matthew 9:22 (NIV) Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “Your faith has healed you.”
Have you ever watched street lights as you pass by? As you approach a street light there is the slightest hint of brilliance that illuminates your path. The closer you travel toward the light the brighter it all gets and as you move on past, the light begins to filter across your back. You quickly enter a brief moment of darkness and then suddenly you’re in the next light’s shadow and it starts all over again.
I was driving home recently and was noticing the dark places between the lights and it got me thinking about times I have been in dark places spiritually. There were times that I couldn’t utter a prayer or even comprehend scripture and I felt dry and almost brittle. But, without fail, a friend would randomly text me a verse or offer a word of encouragement. I would hear a worship song or a hymn would come to mind. It was those moments that the shadow of light would illuminate and guide me to my next breath.
God is so bright when we stand directly under him, but he casts quite a shadow of light when we tend to veer off our path. It’s in those dark moments that we desperately need our people…our sisters to shine their lights so we don’t lose our way.
When that friend randomly pops in your mind, send her that text…even if you think it seems weird. When you feel the drawing to stop and call out that friend’s name to the Father in the bathroom stall at work…do it. We’re all fighting battles and some of us are standing directly beneath the light and we feel like we could reach out and touch heaven. Some of us are in the shadows and while we can see the light it’s hard. But there are even more that are in the dark. They know the light is there but they can’t seem to find it. So, friend, be her light for this moment because you just never know when in the blink of an eye you’ll find yourself in the dark. We aren’t called to always have it together, but we are called to allow Christ’s light to shine through us. Imagine how bright the world would be if we all just shined his light!
I love FaceTime. I think that this is the most wonderful invention for Grandparents that has ever been made. My granddaughters only live an hour away so I do get to see them, but we love to FaceTime.
Last night they called just after bath time while they were getting ready for bed. The oldest took the phone in her room and climbed in her bed and picked up a book. I asked her what she was reading, because I have tried to instill the love of reading with both of the girls. She showed me the bible she received when she was baptized. She reminded me that she is a Christian now. She began to quote a verse that she has learned this month at church. Then she showed me where it was in her bible. She had used colored bible markers to mark the verse. She was in Ephesians so I told her to turn to Ephesians 3:20-21 and read her PawPaw’s favorite verse. She read it to me and then used her markers to highlight the verse:
20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (NAS)
Then I had her turn to my favorite verse, Galatians 2:20. She read it to me and then highlighted this verse in her bible. I learned most of my scripture in King James and New American Standard but she read it to me from her children’s bible.
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (KJV)
What a wonderful time we had reading God’s word together by FaceTime. We have read Bible Stories for many years, but how precious it was to me that she was reading God’s Word and that she understood about the bible.
We should each spend time in God’s Word. A time alone with God is crucial for a personal relationship with our Lord. Whether you read passages straight through a book of the bible or use a devotional or bible study book, God will bless the time you spend with him.
Some years ago, Larnelle Harris sang a song called “I Miss My Time With You.” It talks about God missing the fellowship of the time we should be spending together. God is there at the appointed time and place, but so many times, we do not show up. Don’t let the busyness of life keep you from spending time with God.
In the local news this week they were reminding people not to use the hospital emergency room as a doctor for a non-emergency. (Who would, with the price of using an ER, but undoubtedly people do.) This news story got me to thinking. Emergency rooms are for a specific purpose – emergencies. Often people turn to God’s Word in times of crisis or trauma. Which we can and should do. But do we turn to God’s Word as a spiritual ER? Do we, do you, run to His word only in an emergency?
We’re told we should go to the doctor regularly, but we’re so busy we put off those checkups! We’re also told we should spend time in God’s Word each day. But once again, we’re so busy we put it off. In this hectic American culture we live in, it is a challenge to find time for everything we have to do, want do, and are told we should do. Between work, family, kids homework, sports, grocery shopping, and household chores, we (collectively) tend to feel that the random Sunday morning jaunt to God’s house is all we can add to our schedule. Reading our Bible every morning? Who has even 5 minutes? “I’ll make sure and read my Bible tomorrow …this weekend …I’ll start again in January,” we say.
The problem with turning to God’s Word only in our traumas and tragedies is that we never get to know Him. Just like the anonymous ER nurse or doctor, we need Him in the moment, call His name to come fix the IV, and when we’re well, then we’re off. Back to normal life and we have no relationship with Him.
A daily time of reading or listening to God’s Word is crucial for our long term spiritual health and our ability to cope with life. That’s how we get to know Father God and develop that relationship with Him. When we come to know the Father, the Great Physician, it’s like having a personal relationship with our doctor. Only better!
We can give him a call in a moment of need and he’ll be there to help. He knows the diagnosis and the correct cure. We can ask Him for advice. He has all the wisdom of the universe. He knows our history, what has plagued us in the past and how that affects our current situation. He treats us tenderly. He knows our heartbeat and our very breath. He can recommend the best treatment for our specific condition.
Our role in the treatment is the same as with a doctor. We must do two things.
First, we must come to Him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mathew 11:28) We do this through His Word. As we come to those pages each day we are learning from Him and listening to Him and receiving healing.
Second, we must follow His orders, including getting the prescription filled and following His advice. Spiritually that means simply obeying what we learn from Him in the Bible.
Let’s get our spiritual health in order by coming to God’s Word each day to have a relationship with Him. Let’s quit using God’s Word only as a spiritual ER when we are in crisis.
Fall… it’s my favorite. I love summertime and swimming…watermelon and lightnin’ bugs. But, Fall…it sort of speaks to my soul. Buffalo Check is my favorite “color” and pumpkin spice is my favorite smell. One thing I love most about Fall is the changing of the leaves. The way they finally let go of that branch and turn the most beautiful colors of yellow, orange and rust seem to melt my heart in a magical way. When they fall on the roads and dance around as you drive by, it makes my soul almost dance with them.
I was admiring a tree the other day that is slowly turning from green to burnt orange. I was thinking about all the leaves that tree had seen come and go over it’s life and it got me thinking about my own life. I’ve gone through many a season in my 48 years and I’ve weathered a few storms. My branches have been blown about and my leaves have fallen to the ground year after year. But, just like that tree, God breathes new life into me time and time again allowing new leaves to grow in the bare places. When those branches broke and fell, he healed my wounds and allowed a new branch to grow in its place. I have spent a few seasons of fullness like summer, and my life has yielded beautiful colors of yellow and orange as the time to shed drew near. And, I’ve spent a few seasons where my tree remained raw and bare like a tree in the winter. But, God is so faithful and time and time again he has brought Spring to me and restored me and beautiful leaves have grown again.
I pray my life sees many more seasons, and I can honestly say that if storms blowing through bring me closer to Christ I will willingly weather them too, because I know God, without fail, will never leave me raw and bare. Hard times are…well, hard. But the harvest can’t come without the plowing of the field. So, dear friend, if you’re in a season of plowing or maybe your leaves are falling to the ground one by one take heart knowing that this season of your life was specially created for you, and God has not and will not leave you. You, sweet friend, are his precious daughter!