The Withered Hand

Today I was reading Luke 6:6-11; The Story of the Healing of the Shriveled Hand of a Man:

A large crowd of people were gathered in the temple one day while Jesus was teaching and there was a man amongst them whose hand was shriveled and withered. Jesus spoke to the man and commanded him to, “Stretch out your hand.” The man did so, and his hand was healed.

Jesus did not touch him, he simply spoke those words and the healing was done!

But the man had to stretch out his hand, for the healing to happen. He had to make that choice and then take action.

The man had probably spent his entire life, hiding his hand from the world, so that they would not see his imperfection. But Jesus saw it. And Jesus healed the man’s hand. And in that action, this man received the hope of a different life!

So many times, we have imperfections that we are hiding from the world. Whether it is a past sin or some sort of shame weighing us down, Jesus wants to heal us, but we first need to stretch ourselves ¬– bring the imperfection out into the open so Jesus can make us whole.

For so many years, I hid the sin and shame of my abortion and the weight of that sin caused my spirit to shrivel and wither away. But when I stretched out myself to Jesus, confessed my sin, brought it out into the open and received His forgiveness, the weights were lifted and my spirit became free! Today, I not only have the freedom of knowing that I am stain free in the eyes of the Lord, but that I can share my past with others with the desire that my story can bless them. And through the process, the Lord has restored my hope!

And he wants to do the same for you! What flaw or blemish are you hiding? Are you ready to let Jesus set you free?

If You Love …

Last night I came home from church and noticed the house needed some attention.  Since the boys’ had been home all day, mostly doing nothing, I decided it was time for them to step up and help out.

I asked Chase to do dishes and Carson to sweep the floors.  Immediately, one was in the kitchen and the other was sweeping.  Today, when they got home from school, I asked them to go out and pick up dead tree branches from the yard.  Again, they both complied and soon the yard was neat and clean again.  They did not fuss.  They did not say, “I don’t want to.”  They did not put it off.  

When Abraham was 99 years old, God asked Abraham to be circumcised.  That very afternoon Abraham complied.  Now, if there was a situation that might draw complaints or procrastination, this seems to be it, but not with Abraham.  Instant obedience. 

Jesus told us in the book of John: 

 “If you love me, keep my commands.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth.  (John 14:15-17)

When we love someone, we want to obey their desires.  At dinner we were having this conversation.  I explained to the boys how good it made me feel when they obeyed my desires.  How they respect me.  And in turn, I want to bless them.  We are planning our summer vacation and I want to do things that they will enjoy!

Abraham obeyed God because he loved Him.  And God honored the obedience of Abraham and he became the father of many nations, and his seed was blessed beyond measure.  

When we listen and obey the teachings of Jesus, we get an even greater blessing than a fun vacation!  Jesus gives us His Holy Spirit to guide us, direct us and bring us into all truth!  

That is my desire, to keep the commands of Jesus!  Not because I have to.  But because I love HIM!   

The Whole Enchilada

The Whole Enchilada

We are walking through the Book of Exodus right now in our Ladies’s Group. So many lessons, but the one I want to focus in on tonight comes from Exodus 23:27-30:

“I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.”

God is talking to Moses. They are up on the mountain having a bit of a pow wow. And God is promising Moses victory over his enemies. But look at this part: ” … I will not drive them out in a single year… little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.”

God promises the victory, but it isn’t going to be immediate. Because he knows that the people can only handle small portions of victory at a time. As they increase in strength, they will be able to handle more conquests. That right now, they are not strong enough to possess all that God has for them. But little by little, they will occupy all of the promised land.

So many times we want to go from new believer to mature follower of Jesus in one giant leap. We don’t realize that the in between part is where God equips us to walk in His promises for us. That by embracing each struggle, we can gain the strength, wisdom, and love that is needed to fulfill the plan and purpose that He has for us.

Father, help me to embrace the challenges and to use them to grow closer to you! Let me be content in the moment, not missing any opportunity to become less of me, so that more of you can fill my heart!