John 1-2 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He became human and dwelt with us, revealing Himself to us

My mom was a personal soul winner like no one else I’ve ever known.  Although she was somewhat shy by nature, when it came to sharing her love for Jesus with others, she was fearless!  Her favorite tool was a small booklet of the Book of John, and I can’t even begin to number how many she gave out to those she had led to Lord.

Sometimes she would run out of her copies of John, but I can still hear her telling the new ones in the Lord, “Just read the Book of John! Read the Book of John because it will tell you all about Jesus.”  Mom loved this book because as a new Christian, before she found a church home or Christian friends, God directed her to read it.  Within the pages of John, she fell in love with her Savior, discovered her Shepherd and met the Great Physician.  Needless to say, the Book of John is a favorite of mine, too.

While the other gospels include wonderful, anointed biographies of the life and times of Jesus on earth, John’s approach in writing was different, more thematic.  Just as a lawyer systematically presents his argument to a jury, John gave a deliberate and methodical case for the deity and power of Jesus.  His closing argument, if you will, is found nearly at the end of John in chapter 20:30-31, “The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him you will have life by the power of His name.”   Persuaded by the powerful words of John and our own undeniable experience, my mom and I accept the verdict – Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God!

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (1:1)  In our language of today, the term Word is an unusual way to begin a case for the deity of Christ, but in John’s day, it was a term familiar to Jew and Greek alike.  To the Jew it was a term used for God; and to the Greek, Word was a term used to represent the current philosophy or reason of an expressed thought.  During the troubled times of persecution after the fall of Jerusalem, John was able to capture the attention of both the Jew and the Greek.

Similar to the Greeks, today much of the world’s thinking about God and His Son is ruled by philosophy and reason without faith – He was simply a good man or possibly a prophet. Just as my mom had discovered, the words of John along with the testimony of our personal acceptance of Him are powerful tools to convince the world that Jesus is the Son of God.

I love the unforgettable words from John – “Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (1:29), “For God so loved the world that He gave” (3:16), “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep” (10:11), “Now you are my friends (15:15), and so much more.  Just read the Book of John!  Read the Book of John because it will tell you all about Jesus. And we will read it.

Moving Forward:  I’m convinced, and willing to share with anyone who will listen, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Word, the Good Shepherd, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, the Mighty Counselor, the Healer…and my friend. 

Tomorrow @ 2 Thessalonians

Matthew 8-10 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He is the healer!

Nothing stirs up faith in me like reading Matthew, Chapters 8 through 10. I think of them as the Miracle Chapters.  Matthew shared one example after another of the miraculous healing and delivering power of our Lord.  I’ve heard it said several times that if we don’t have faith to believe for healing or for a miracle, we won’t be healed, and that it’s all about our faith. I’m just not sure that Jesus would completely agree with that statement.

Matthew’s examples include the story of healing for a man with Great Faith – “A Roman officer came and pleaded with [Jesus], ‘Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.’ Jesus said, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the officer said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed’…[Jesus} said, ‘I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!’”(8:8-10) The Gentile Roman soldier was a man of Great Faith.

Matthew included illustrations of Faith that brought healing:  “A woman who had suffered for twelve years…touched the fringe of his robe…when he saw her he said, ‘Daughter, be encouraged!  Your faith has made you well.’ And the woman was healed at that moment.” (9:20-22)  Then Matthew told the story of the two blind men who shouted to Jesus, “Son of David, have mercy on us!’…Jesus asked them, ‘Do you believe I can make you see?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ they told him, ‘we do.’  Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘Because of your faith, it will happen.’” (27-29)  Without a doubt, we know how Jesus felt about faith and healing.

But then, Jesus also performed a miracle for those with Little Faith: When in the storm-tossed sea, the disciples cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ Jesus responded, ‘Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!’ Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.” (8:25-26)

Jesus saved and healed a man with Borrowed Faith:  “Some people brought to him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven’…And the man jumped up and went home!” (9:2,7)  One time I was in a desperate need of healing for body, soul and spirit, and I seemed to have no faith to believe for a miracle.  My husband and two others, all full of faith, touched God on my behalf, and I was made completely whole.  Borrowed faith.

Jesus even performed a miracle for a man with No Faith: “A demon-possessed man who couldn’t speak was brought to Jesus. So Jesus cast out the demon, and then the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed.”  Full of the devil, this man was set free by Jesus who performs His miracles for reasons we may not even understand – the crowds were amazed.

These illustrations are not intended to minimize our need for faith to believe for miracles, quite the opposite, but I believe we put God in a box when we say that someone is not healed because of their lack of faith. We just don’t know all the purposes God has for the trials we face, but we do know we must stay connected to the One who does.

I believe that Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord that Heals, that Jesus, the Great Physician, will perform miracles on our behalf.  As we learned from the Roman soldier, our faith blesses the Lord, and who doesn’t want to bless the Lord?  From the other healings mentioned in these chapters, we know that faith gets the Lord’s attention.  Who doesn’t want the Lord’s attention?  Our faith brings healing.  Who doesn’t want healing?  Bottom Line: Jesus is the healer. Whether we believe or not, Jesus is the healer.  It’s all about Him.

Moving Forward:  I’m thankful that His miracles are not exclusive to my measure of faith, but I’m equally thankful that He responds to my faith with healing and blessing. 

Tomorrow @ Romans 9-10

John 1-2 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He became human and dwelt with us, revealing Himself to us

My mom was a personal soul winner like no one else I’ve ever known.  Although she was somewhat shy by nature, when it came to sharing her love for Jesus with others, she was fearless!  Her favorite tool was a small booklet of the Book of John, and I can’t even begin to number how many she gave out to those she had led to Lord.

Sometimes she would run out of her copies of John, but I can still hear her telling the new ones in the Lord, “Just read the Book of John! Read the Book of John because it will tell you all about Jesus.”  Mom loved this book because as a new Christian, before she found a church home or Christian friends, God directed her to read it.  Within the pages of John, she fell in love with her Savior, discovered her Shepherd and met the Great Physician.  Needless to say, the Book of John is a favorite of mine, too.

While the other gospels include wonderful, anointed biographies of the life and times of Jesus on earth, John’s approach in writing was different, more thematic.  Just as a lawyer systematically presents his argument to a jury, John gave a deliberate and methodical case for the deity and power of Jesus.  His closing argument, if you will, is found nearly at the end of John in chapter 20:30-31, “The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him you will have life by the power of His name.”   Persuaded by the powerful words of John and our own undeniable experience, my mom and I accept the verdict – Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God!

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (1:1)  In our language of today, the term Word is an unusual way to begin a case for the deity of Christ, but in John’s day it was a term familiar to Jew and Greek alike.  To the Jew it was a term used for God; and to the Greek, Word was a term used to represent the current philosophy or reason of an expressed thought.  During the troubled times of persecution after the fall of Jerusalem, John was able to capture the attention of both the Jew and the Greek.

Similar to the Greeks, today much of the world’s thinking about God and His Son is ruled by philosophy and reason without faith – He was simply a good man or possibly a prophet. Just as my mom had discovered, the words of John along with the testimony of our personal acceptance of Him are powerful tools to convince the world that Jesus is the Son of God.

I love the unforgettable words from John – “Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (1:29), “For God so loved the world that He gave” (3:16), “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep” (10:11), “Now you are my friends (15:15), and so much more.  Just read the Book of John!  Read the Book of John because it will tell you all about Jesus. And we will read it.

Moving Forward:  I’m convinced, and willing to share with anyone who will listen, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Word, the Good Shepherd, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, the mighty Counselor, the Healer…and my friend. 

Tomorrow @ 2 Thessalonians

Matthew 8-10 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He is the healer!

Nothing stirs up faith in me like reading Matthew, Chapters 8 through 10. I think of them as the Miracle Chapters.  Matthew shared one example after another of the miraculous healing and delivering power of our Lord.  I’ve heard it said several times that if we don’t have faith to believe for healing or for a miracle, we won’t be healed.  It’s all about our faith. I’m just not sure that Jesus would completely agree with that statement.

Matthew’s examples include the story of healing for a man with Great Faith – “A Roman officer came and pleaded with [Jesus], ‘Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.’ Jesus said, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the officer said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed’…[Jesus} said, ‘I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!’”(8:8-10) The Gentile Roman soldier was a man of Great Faith.

Matthew included illustrations of Faith that brought healing:  “A woman who had suffered for twelve years…touched the fringe of his robe…when he saw her he said, ‘Daughter, be encouraged!  Your faith has made you well.’ And the woman was healed at that moment.” (9:20-22)  Then Matthew told the story of the two blind men who shouted to Jesus, “Son of David, have mercy on us!’…Jesus asked them, ‘Do you believe I can make you see?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ they told him, ‘we do.’  Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘Because of your faith, it will happen.’” (27-29)  Without a doubt, we know how Jesus felt about faith and healing.

But then, Jesus also performed a miracle for those with Little Faith: When in the storm-tossed sea, the disciples cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ Jesus responded, ‘Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!’ Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.” (8:25-26)

Jesus saved and healed a man with Borrowed Faith:  “Some people brought to him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven’…And the man jumped up and went home!” (9:2,7)  One time I was in a desperate need of healing for body, soul and spirit, and I seemed to have no faith to believe for a miracle.  My husband and two others, all full of faith, touched God on my behalf, and I was made completely whole.  Borrowed faith.

Jesus even performed a miracle for a man with No Faith: “A demon-possessed man who couldn’t speak was brought to Jesus. So Jesus cast out the demon, and then the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed.”  Full of the devil, this man was set free by Jesus who performs His miracles for reasons we may not even understand – the crowds were amazed.

These illustrations are not intended to minimize our need for faith to believe for miracles, quite the opposite, but I believe we put God in a box when we say that someone is not healed because of their lack of faith. We just don’t know all the purposes God has for the trials we face, but we do know we must stay connected to the One who does.

I believe that Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord that Heals, that Jesus, the Great Physician, will perform miracles on our behalf.  As we learned from the Roman soldier, our faith blesses the Lord, and who doesn’t want to bless the Lord?  From the other healings mentioned in these chapters, we know that faith gets the Lord’s attention.  Who doesn’t want the Lord’s attention?  Our faith brings healing.  Who doesn’t want healing?  Bottom Line: Jesus is the healer. Whether we believe or not, Jesus is the healer.  It’s all about Him.

Moving Forward:  I’m thankful that His miracles are not exclusive to my measure of faith, but I’m equally thankful that He responds to my faith with healing and blessing. 

Tomorrow @ Romans 9-10