Tag Archives: Knees

No Simple Lives

One thing I’ve noticed about people is that things are never simple. I think it’s because we are not simple. Our lives are made up of hundreds of nicks and bruises we have each experienced. All those blows, bad relationships, disappointments and life experiences make us who we are and it’s never simple to sort out.

A few weeks ago, as I listened to a couple working through some real problems in their marriage, I thought….”this is really complicated. There are no easy answers.” Honestly, I think that same thing almost every time I talk with someone. It’s difficult to sort out all the pieces of our lives that have brought us to where we are today. How do we get it all tied together so we aren’t tripping over ourselves? How do we work through all that we are to fix what we have become? Honestly, there are no simple lives. There are no simple answers.

But as I watch Jesus in the gospels I see his encounters with people in a different way. The difference is that he knew the heart of man and was able to go to the very heart of each person’s problem. With a word, a touch, a smile Jesus healed broken lives. He knew what each life needed.

Here is a story of one man’s encounter with Jesus. In this brief encounter Jesus meets the needs of this broken man,

Mark 1:40-45- 40A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” (If you are willing. It’s almost a question, Are you willing? Not can you help me? but will you help me? The most important question is this one, Lord, will you help me?)41Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” (The compassion of Jesus brought a response that I’m sure no one expected. In fact this leper was in front of Jesus contrary to the law that would keep him apart from others who didn’t have leprosy.42Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. 43Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44“See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”45Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.

This story is one of my favorites in the gospels. It’s a story of the prayer we have all prayed, “if you are willing.” We wait, hoping God is indeed willing to meet our needs, but he does so much more. This man had been without a human touch, without real love and without acceptance for so long that his first need, in spite of his obvious illness, was a touch. In that amazing moment of time Jesus did the unthinkable….he reached out and touched this dirty, diseased man. The touch did so much more than heal the disease, it healed the whole man.

Like this poor leper in Mark we each come to Jesus with all our sickness and disease visible for all to see…the bible calls it sin. Our plea is simple, if you’re willing you can make me clean, you can forgive my sins. And with a touch…that amazing touch….we each find healing and forgiveness.

As a result of that touch and the love of Jesus to meet this man’s needs a great exchange happened. It happens with us when we trust him. Some call it the exchanged life and indeed it is. But with this man the exchange was dramatic. The man who had lived alone and removed from mankind was now among them. Talking, touching, hugging and telling everyone about Jesus to such an extent that Jesus had to go to the wilderness away from mankind and even there the people, all in need of his touch, sought him out.

Mankind is still asking this man’s simple question, “If you are willing you can make me clean.” And his response is the same, with a touch of his hand he replies, “I’m willing, be clean.” And so, with all our warts and wrinkles, all our problems and struggles Jesus comes to touch the hurting and heal each one. If you’re wondering if he can fix your messy life just ask him. You’ll be amazed at the smile, the touch, the acceptance and the reply, “I’m willing, be clean.”

 

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The Great Exchange

In my reading I’ve come to Mark 1 and one of my favorite stories in the bible. It’s a very short story…not much said about it, but it’s heavy with impact to me. I always slow down as I read this story because I love the message it communicates. Join me in the crowd as we watch what unfolds…. 

Mark 1:40 And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”

This very action was completely contrary to the law. A leper was required to move from family and friends and live alone. If anyone came near who was not a leper the law required that the leper announce, “Unclean! Unclean!” so that those coming near would know not to get too close. This man did the forbidden, he came unannounced to the very feet of Jesus! When the crowds saw him I’m sure the outcries and insults were loud and emotional. How dare he come here unannounced. But his plea was an amazing one. Listen to his words over the cries of the crowd, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Mark 1:41 Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and *said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”

Now stop just for a moment and read those words again….moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. I can just see the faces of the crowd. Surprise, amazement, shock…how could Jesus touch a man covered in leprosy? I can hear the outcry, the shock. Now Jesus is unclean as well! Now Jesus has made himself an outcast. But he frames his touch with these words, I am willing, be cleansed.

Then it happens, in a moment, with a touch that changed everything for this outcast man…

Mar 1:42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

Immediately, instantly, right then his life was completely different! Not only was he healed, but Jesus had touched him! I believe that Jesus’ touch was meant to heal two things- his body and his mind. A man who had not been touched in years was touched by Jesus. The compassion of that touch changed everything. He was a different man!

Mark 1:43 And He sternly warned him and immediately sent him away,
Mark 1:44 and He *said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
Mark 1:45 But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news around, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.

And here is the great exchange – the man who was a leper and outcast to the unpopulated areas was now whole because of Jesus’ touch and I can just see him hugging everyone he saw and telling them his story. His life was completely changed, and a great exchange happened. Now the outcast was welcome back into community, and the healer took his place….Jesus is now the one in the wilderness, in the unpopulated areas.

The story of the leper is my story. It’s his touch when we were in our sins that cleansed us, made us whole and gave us new life. And with his touch he took our sickness and sin on himself. He took our sin and sickness and gave us his life. The story of this leper who experienced the touch of compassion of Jesus that changes everything is my story, it’s your story. It’s the story of the great exchange.

Psalm 46

This post is from @spreadingJOY – lover of the little things that make life big!  Marie knows that every once in a while, you need to be strengthened, encouraged and inspired.  For extra encouragement, a few smiles and lots of {HUGS} follow her on twitter.


Psalm 46

One Sunday morning not long ago, I was doing some daily Bible reading. Ps 46 was in the que. As I was reading it, the song Peace Be Still came to mind and I decided that I should memorize this passage in an effort to learn a verse a day.

Being able to quote this passage from memory has served me more than I would have imagined. Here are my thoughts on this amazing passage of comfort:

Vs. 1-3 – God is our refugee and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Thought the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

Daily, everyone of us can stand to hear a reminder that God is our strength. He is with us in trouble. We face trouble on daily basis.  More often than we want to admit, we are weakened and are driven to our knees.  If we would only grab ahold of this verse and cling to its Holy Promise! During the moments in my life when the mountains seem to be falling into the sea, I have been able to pull comfort from these verses. Praise the Lord for being my strength and help in trouble.

Vs. 5 – God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

 This verse reminds me that God Will help and wants to help.  That I do not have to go through my journey alone and scared.  God, the creator of the universe, the Master of the seas, the One that the winds obey his very voice, is in the midst of MY journey.  How amazing is that?

Vs 10a – Be still, and know that I am God…

Worry has a way of grabbing ahold of us and not letting go. We drag our worries around with us, fretting about tomorrow. We wonder what are we going to do, we waste precious time that we could be making a difference for Heaven on worry. That is what satan wants from us. He wants to distract us, so that we forget about this verse. We need to remember to be still and KNOW that God will take care of us, he wants to take care of us and will continue to take care of us. Instead of looking around at the raging storms and taking our eyes off of our Lord, we need to remain focused on him. We need to fix our eyes our heavenly Father and run to Him. We need to crawl right up into his lap and just be still, knowing that He is in control, that He wants to bless us, guide and direct us. Knowing that He is God!

I’m just as guilty as the next person about worry, about discouragement, about distractions.  Having hid these verses in my heart, where I can grab them at a moments notice has proven beneficial so many times. Speaking with my best friend on the phone who is afraid for her prodigal daughter. Consoling my daughter when she feels like the school can’t protect her. Re-assuring my son that God will provide the necessary funding for college. When my own heart is aching, with the desire to give big, with the need to see my son, with various heartaches and breaks – I too, claim these promises from the Lord.

Have you hidden these words in your heart? Can you grab them when you need them? You know the storms are coming, you know the battle will rage? What other passages do you need to hide in your heart?