VIDEO The Garment of Faith We Wear

And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment….And the woman was made well from that hour.  Matthew 9:20-22

The announcing of God’s Kingdom saw many miraculous verifications. Garments belonging to Paul, which were carried to the diseased and demonized, brought healing (Acts 19:12). Others were healed in Jerusalem when the shadow of Peter fell upon them as he passed by (Acts 5:14-16). And a woman who had been sick for twelve years was healed as she reached out to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment (Matthew 9:20-22).

Touching Jesus’ garment for healing is not a precedent for the Church to follow since He is no longer here on earth. But touching Jesus Himself—reaching out by faith through the crowded confusion of emotions and distractions of this world—is a precedent we can, and should, follow. If the prophet Isaiah refers to putting on “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3), might not we also consider wearing a “garment of faith”?

Since Jesus is the “author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), let us clothe ourselves with faith in Him, whatever our need.

Faith is knowledge passing into conviction, and it is conviction passing into confidence. John Murray


Matthew 9:20-22 Healing in the Bible

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You Have to Relax!

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. Psalm 116:7

“You must relax,” pronounces a doctor crisply in Disney’s Rescuers Down Under, attempting to treat the injured albatross Wilbur, a reluctant patient. “Relax? I am relaxed!” a clearly not relaxed Wilbur responds sarcastically as his panic grows. “If I were any more relaxed, I’d be dead!”

Can you relate? In light of the doctor’s dubious methods (such as a chainsaw dubbed an “epidermal tissue disruptor”), Wilbur’s misgivings seem justified. But the scene is funny because it captures how we tend to feel when we’re panicking—whether or not what we’re facing is actually life-threatening.

When we’re terrified, encouragement to relax can feel ridiculous. I know when I feel life’s terrors piling up around me, and when painful “cords of death” (Psalm 116:3) tighten my stomach into knots, my every instinct is to fight back, not to relax.

And yet . . . more often than not, my panicked attempts to fight back only tighten anxiety’s vice-grip, leaving me crippled by fear. But when I, albeit reluctantly, allow myself to feel my pain and lift it up to God (v. 4), something surprising happens. The knot inside me relaxes a bit (v. 7), and a peace I can’t understand rushes through me.

And as the Spirit’s comforting presence surrounds me, I understand a bit more the truth at the heart of the gospel: we fight best when we surrender into the powerful arms of God (1 Peter 5:6–7).

By:  Monica Brands

Reflect & Pray

What struggles do you think of as “cords of death” in your life? How could you grow in surrendering to God’s love and care in the hard times?

God, help us surrender our desperate attempts at control and let go of the burdens we weren’t meant to bear to find rest in Your grace and goodness.

Submission Is The Way to Blessing

Romans 6:15-23

If professing believers were really honest, many would say their lives bear little resemblance to the Christian life described in Scripture. They struggle repeatedly with the same sins, feel that God rarely answers prayers, and wonder why He hasn’t given them the desires of their heart. How is this possible?

The problem may be a lack of submission to Jesus Christ. People often want the forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven but are not willing to place themselves under the lordship of Christ. Therefore, they are disconnected from what He wants to do in their life. In refusing to submit, they forfeit the blessings that come to those who know Christ as Savior and Lord.

As today’s passage states, “You are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness” (v. 16). Although we strongly dislike the concept of slavery, that is the reality for every person who enters the world: We are all born as slaves of sin. Thankfully, that doesn’t have to be the final word. Anyone who turns to Christ in repentance and faith is set free. However, this is not freedom to simply do whatever we want. In fact, doing so would naturally head us back to our old slave master of sin.

Avoiding submission to God results in wasted years of chasing after His blessings through our own cunning. True freedom and blessing are found only in being a slave to God, who is always good, wise, and loving. In obedience to His will, we find freedom from sin, answers to prayer, and new desires that come from a changed heart.

The Real Wisdom of God

“And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.” (1 Kings 3:28)

The “wisdom of God,” as attributed to Solomon, is an awesome concept, because God Himself is omniscient. Apparently Solomon was given a greater share of the divine wisdom than any others of his generation, and probably more than most of any generation.

God also gave him “largeness of heart” (1 Kings 4:29). Not only did he build and effectively rule a great kingdom, but “he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five” (1 Kings 4:32). Included in these, of course, were three divinely inspired books (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon), which are now in our Bibles.

Furthermore, he was a scientist, for “he spake of trees, . . . of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes” (1 Kings 4:33-34).

Sadly, in his old age, he also acquired a goodly portion of “the wisdom of this world” (1 Corinthians 2:6) that must “come to nought,” and which led eventually to a loss of part of his kingdom.

The phrase “the wisdom of God” occurs six other times in Scripture (Ezra 7:25; Luke 11:49; 1 Corinthians 1:21, 24; 2:7; Ephesians 3:10). In the Corinthian passages, the eternal divine wisdom is being contrasted with the very temporal and often misguided wisdom of man.

In Ephesians 3:10 is found the remarkable revelation that the angels (who themselves have tremendous wisdom—note 2 Samuel 14:20) are themselves being taught “the manifold wisdom of God.” And these instructions are conveyed “by the church”—that is, by the amazing way in which God has created and redeemed man for eternal fellowship with Himself. HMM

Ineffectual Unconvincing Testimony

For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

—Acts 22:15

There is a large amount of ineffective Christian testimony among us today. Much of it is well-intended, I am sure—honest and sincere. We do the best we can with what we have. But our performance turns out to be something like that of the salesman promoting fountain pens. He tries to make a case for his product, but his would-be customers know he really thinks ballpoints are far more practical.

Too much of our Christian witnessing is unconvincing because we have not been convinced. We are ineffectual because we have not yet capitulated to the Lord from glory. It is like the proselyte making proselytes….

Perhaps this is happening because we are trying to plan how everything should happen. Everyone of us reads a little how-to book on witnessing. We try to do it the way we have been taught. But it is perfunctory and without any contagious element. If angels can weep, they must weep salty tears upon seeing a proselyte who has never really met the Lord making another proselyte who will also never meet the Lord.   FBR101-102

Out of the abundance of a heart filled with love for You let me speak today. Let me see You this morning in a way that will cause me to leave this prayer time with a renewed passion to minister. Amen.

 

I have heard the cry of the children of Israel

I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel.—Exodus 16:12.

Save our blessings,

Master, save From the blight of thankless eye,

Teach us for all joys to crave

Benediction pure and high

Own them given, endure them gone,

Shrink from their hardening touch, yet prize them won,

Prize them as rich odors meet

For love to lavish at His sacred feet.

John Keble.

 

Nothing so hinders us in what we are doing as to be longing after something else; in so doing, we leave off tilling our own field, to drive the plough through our neighbor’s land, where we must not look to reap a harvest; and this is mere waste of time. If our thoughts and hopes are elsewhere, it is impossible for us to set our faces steadily towards the work required of us.

St. Francis De Sales.

 

One thing is indisputable: the chronic mood of looking longingly at what we have not, or thankfully at what we have, realizes two very different types of character. And we certainly can encourage the one or the other.

Lucy C. Smith.

 

Seek to cultivate a buoyant, joyous sense of the crowded kindnesses of God in your daily life.

Alexander MacLaren.

 

God Above All Human Philosophy

“For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” 1Cor. 1:19

This verse is a threatening so far as the worldly-wise are concerned, but to the simple believer it is a promise. The professedly learned are for ever trying to bring to nothing the faith of the humble believer, but they fail in their attempts. Their arguments break down, their theories fall under their own weight, their deep-laid plots discover themselves before their purpose is accomplished. The old gospel is not extinct yet, nor will it be while the Lord liveth. If it could have been exterminated it would have perished from off the earth long ago.

We cannot destroy the wisdom of the wise, nor need we attempt it, for the work is in far better hands. The Lord Himself says, “I will,” and He never resolves in vain. Twice does He in this verse declare His purpose, and we may rest assured that He will not turn aside from it.

What clean work the Lord makes of philosophy and “modern thought” when He puts His hand to it! He brings the fine appearance down to nothing; He utterly destroys the wood, hay, and stubble. It is written that so it shall be, and so shall it be. Lord, make short work of it. Amen, and Amen.