Friday, April 20, 2012

Reports about Jesus

Mark 5:25-27  And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years,  (26)  and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.  (27)  She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment.
This woman had a seemingly incurable condition causing her to bleed constantly. This may have been a menstrual or uterine disorder that would have made her ritually unclean (See Leviticus 15:25-27) and excluded her from most social contact. She desperately wanted Jesus to heal her, but she knew that her bleeding would cause Jesus to be unclean under Jewish law if she touched him. Sometimes we feel that our problems will keep us from God. But he is always ready to help, no matter how impossible the problem seems to us. We should never allow our fear to keep us from approaching him.
What cause this lady to have hope again?  She had this problem for 12 years, she had suffered much under a lot of different doctors.  She had spent all she had, but was getting worse.  Surely all hope was gone.  Surely she had given up hope a long time ago.

But what happened?  What caused her to get out of bed, put her clothes on, get outside and walking towards Jesus?  What caused her hope to come alive?  It is seen in verse 27:

"She had heard the reports about Jesus..."

She came to Jesus with expectations:

"If I touch even His garments, I will be made well."

Again, why hope?  Why were expectations so high about Jesus?  

"She had heard the reports about Jesus..."

Someone was excited about Jesus. 
Someone had seen what Jesus could do.
Someone couldn't help but share about Jesus' touch.
Someone refused to keep Jesus to themself.
Someone was used of God to spread the Good News.
Someone had a part in this miracle.
Someone brough encouragement.
Someone breathed life into this hopeless lady.
Someone made an eternal difference.
Someone affected generations to come.
Someone became a part of God's Word.

This lady received her miracle because reports she had heard about Jesus.  Who have I impacted with reports of Jesus? Have I told anyone lately?  Have I shown anyone lately?  Have I influenced anyone lately?  It's time to start a report!
"Lord, forgive me for the times I have not shared Jesus with anyone.  For the times You have done miraculous things in my life, and I am silent.  For the times I attend church, and do not invite anyone to come with me.  I want to change, and make the decision to change. I want to spread good reports about You, Jesus. I want to affect someone for eternity.  In Jesus' name, amen!"

A Covenant with God!

Genesis 15:7-9  And he said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess."  (8)  But he said, "O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?"  (9)  He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon."
As in the case in Jeremiah 34:18, where a covenant ritual is represented by passage between the severed body of a sacrificial animal, here Abram is given the “sign” of the covenant promise for which he asked. Each “three-year old” animal (calf, goat, ram, dove, pigeon, the same animals featured in the sacrificial system described in Leviticus) is cut in half, although the body sections of the birds are not separated. 

Second-millennium Hittite texts use a similar procedure for purification, while some first-millennium Aramaic treaties use such a ritual for placing a curse on any violation of the treaty. Texts from Mari and Alalakh feature the killing of animals as part of the ceremony of making a treaty. Walking through this sacrificial pathway could be seen as a symbolic action enacting both the covenant's promise of land and a curse on the one who violates the promise, though interpreters have wondered what significance a self-curse could possibly have for God. Abram's driving away the birds of prey further symbolizes the future protection from their enemies when they take possession of the land.
Are you discouraged because a breakthrough that you have been praying for has yet to come to pass? Maybe it has been days or even weeks and you are asking, "How will I know that the victory is coming?" Abraham faced the same situation and asked God the same question. And God answered, "Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtle- dove, and a young pigeon." What a strange answer!
But if you read on (Genesis 15:10-21), you will realize that God took Abraham's question very seriously, and went on to show him just how serious He was about being his provider, protector and prosperity-giver. God was so serious that He was willing to bind Himself to a covenant.
What is a covenant? It is like a contract. Yet, it is more than a contract. A contract is binding only for a period of time, like five years or seven years, or until certain terms are fulfilled. But a covenant is perpetual. It is permanent. The only way out is through death. That is why marriage is a covenant, not a contract. It is permanent - "Till death do us part".
That's why God said in Deuteronomy 9:13-14  "Furthermore, the LORD said to me, 'I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stubborn people.  (14)  Let me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven. And I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.'

God was going to make the Covenant void and nullified by killing the Israelites, and start all over with Moses descendants.  God binds Himself to the Coveant He has with His people.

In Bible times, when you cut a covenant with someone, you bring an animal, usually a ram or goat, and kill it by cutting it in two. Next, you will face your covenant partner and walk toward each other between the two pieces of the animal, passing each other in the center.
What all this means is that both parties are obligated to protect and provide for each other. Whatever belongs to you is your partner's and whatever belongs to your partner is yours. Of course, the one who benefits is the lesser or poorer party.
Today, God is in covenant with us. We are the lesser, poorer party. We have nothing to offer God. But God, the richest and most powerful being in the universe, has everything to offer us!
God has bound Himself to a covenant,an iron-clad guarantee of His blessings and provision in your life, and it is all for your benefit. The breakthrough you are waiting for is guaranteed by covenant!

A few of His Covenant names are:  Jehovah-Jireh (provider); Jehovah-Shalom (Peace); Jehovah-Nissi (banner); Jehovah-Ropheka (Healer)!
"Lord, I am so thankful for the Coveant You made with all of mankind by allowing Jesus to die on the cross.  I thank You for binding Yourself to that Covenant. I must always remember WHO You are, and WHAT You have promised to those You are in Coveant with.  In Jesus name, amen!"

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Be Careful! Beware!


Deuteronomy 8:10-11 When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your God for the good land He has given you. (11) "But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey His commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today.


This verse is traditionally cited as the reason we say grace before or after meals. Its purpose, however, was to warn the Israelites not to forget God when their needs and wants were satisfied. Let your table prayers serve as a constant reminder of the Lord's goodness to you and your duty to those who are less fortunate.


In times of plenty, we often take credit for our prosperity and become proud that our own hard work and cleverness have made us rich. It is easy to get so busy collecting and managing wealth that we push God right out of our lives. But it is God who gives us everything we have, and it is God who asks us to manage it for him.

We are warned in this passage to be careful, and beware. Of what? Becoming satisfied with the gift of God and forgetting the Giver who is God.

We are truly blessed. We have plenty of food, clothing, cars, electronics, homes. Compared to the rest of the world, we live a life of luxury. In the midst of this luxury, we have to be careful that we do not forget the God who gave us these luxuries. We must beware that we could very easily begin to worship the gift rather than the Giver. The creation instead of the Creator. The abundance rather than the Abundant One. The bounty in place of the Bountiful One. Propserity in place of the Prosperous One.

In the midst of all of our blessings, we could very easily take more pleasure in what we have, then Who gave it to us. Beware! Be Careful! Put God back at the forefront of your life, mind, attitude, thoughts, prayers, and thankfulness. He is the One who blessed you. We must never forget that. But too often, we have.


"Lord, please forgive me for the tmes I have worshipped the gift more than the Giver. I am so sorry for the times I have turned to what You have blessed me with in times of trouble, more than I have turned to You. Thank You for this reminder today. I love You and my heart is full of graitude and thanksgiving to the Giver of abundant life. Help this Word to stay with me from now on. In Jesus name, amen!"