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Mathew 8:16 -17

And when evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “He Himself took our infirmities, and carried away our diseases.”

In telling Jesus’ story, Matthew recorded scriptural prophecy being fulfilled. We read this passage from the Prophet Isaiah last Wednesday. It is Isaiah 53: 4 – 5. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would bear our infirmities and diseases in his body and that by his stripes, we were healed. Jesus took our infirmities, all of them, and he carried away our diseases.

You can hibernate on that language for a long time. If he carried away our disease, where did he carry it? I have a theory on that. I believe he took all of the disease straight to hell and left it there. He didn’t take it to heaven for goodness’ sake. Further, if he took our infirmities, then we don’t have them. Is that right? How can we have what he took? Also, have you thought about the word infirmities. I think that is worth mediation and journaling. What condition do you have in your body that could be classified as an infirmity? It can be any physical weakness. From our youth people, even Christians, convince us that our infirmities, our physical or mental weaknesses, are ours for life. We learn how to manage our infirmities, but first we must accept them. I believe in getting all the help you can from all the sources with healing modalities. I do not, however, believe the infirmity belongs to you or that any of us should accept those abnormalities as our normal. Scripture says Jesus took our infirmities. We have to establish who we are going to believe.

I am not trying to tell you that sickness and disease aren’t real. Injuries, disease, birth defects, that is all real world stuff. I am trying to get us all to believe what the scriptures say and to understand what Jesus did for us. Look again at Isaiah 53: 5, “But he was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging (stripes) we are healed.” We accept, wholeheartedly, that the piercing of his hands and feet to hang him on a cross was successful at taking away our sin. And as an aside, where do you think he left all that sin? Anyway, if we can believe that part of the verse, why are we challenged to believe the second part?

Isn’t this part of the good news? In fact, when I tell you that the scourging Jesus endured did for your health what the cross did for your eternal soul, that he has taken your infirmities so that your body is healed every bit as much as your soul is cleansed, isn’t that great news? How many messages have we heard on what the cross did for us? Have you heard even ten percent as much on the great miracle of healing? Why did Jesus endure such torture? It was not for salvation. It was for healing. Yet, we don’t preach this, or at least, not like we should.

Here is my point. First, you and I have been conditioned to be sick. We have been taught since we were children to accept infirmity and just live with it. Second, we have not been taught the good news about Jesus as healer. If it had been drummed into us at a young age like John 3:16 has been, we would be better able to believe. But since it wasn’t, the work is on you to reverse your programing.

Matthew is making a point in this passage. He is proving to people that Jesus is the Messiah because his healing of people is the fulfillment of scripture. This is an enormously important scripture and lesson. It is by healing that Jesus showed his Messianic mission. The proof was in the healing. It makes perfect sense too because we already know that God said, “I am your healer.” Then, when Jesus came to earth and healed in accordance with scripture, he showed that he was, indeed, from his Father. He healed according to the power that was within him. The Jews of the age should have been able to reconcile all of this for themselves. Some did, but mostly people were unable to connect the dots.

Matthew used examples of Jesus’ life and ministry to prove his deity and here it is. He healed all that were brought to him. In fact, there is not one circumstance where Jesus didn’t heal a person who asked to be healed. This passage specifically says he healed “all.” That is important for us to realize. Maybe that one word is what you needed to hear to make this whole series come alive for you. Jesus isn’t a specialist. He didn’t only heal skin disease. He didn’t only heal orthopedic issues. He didn’t have his apostles sorting through everyone putting them in groups of diseases over which he had authority and others he couldn’t help. He healed all!! Come on. Let this fire up your spirit!!! If you were in that group that day, the pain and infirmity that you carry in your body right now would have been vanquished back to hell where it belongs. YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN HEALED!

So, here is where we are. What makes Jesus different from today than on that faithful day? What makes our infirmities different from those people’s infirmities? If Jesus walked into the room you are in right now, would he have the same power to heal you that he did on that day? Or, maybe because he isn’t in the flesh, he doesn’t have the same effectiveness. What do you think?

This could be the day that you manifest healing. This could be your moment. There are some among you who will receive healing today. You will receive this good news and accept it into your bones and throughout all the tissue of your body and the good word will do its work. By his stripes you were healed.

Please write me and tell me about your healing!

Immanuel

Isaiah 7: 14

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will name Him Immanuel.

Immanuel – God with us. Of all the things that are unique about this new covenant, the one I like best is that God is present with us all the time. Yahweh revealed the coming miracle to Isaiah. It was bigger than just the Messiah which was promised. In the name Immanuel, God revealed an entirely new type of relationship that humanity would have with divinity. God sent his son here not just to save us from sin but also to create a new temple, the temple of the Holy Spirit which is not made of stones and mortar but of human sinew. What an amazing miracle!

Some people think the virgin pregnancy was the miracle of miracles. That is peanuts compared to the reality that God made us His temple and has come to make His abode in us. Yahweh didn’t just send a Messiah. He transformed the entire spiritual realm. Humans became the living building stones by which the Lord built His kingdom on earth and He is still building that kingdom.

This message of God with us is a Christmas message, sure, but it is so much more than that. I have tried to intimate what a game changer this event was. During this time of Covid-19 we can appreciate “Immanuel” at an entirely different level. God is with us. We have all three parts of the Trinity living with us, integrating their life with ours. Our hearts can be strengthened because God has sent His comfort and joy in the person of Jesus, our Christ. But it doesn’t end there. Jesus also sent us a helper, the Holy Spirit. We are not alone nor are we abandoned. This Christmas let’s all meditate on Immanuel – God with us. Make every day a revelation of Jesus sitting beside you. He is alongside you at work and he is baking cookies with you. No matter what you do this Advent Season, engage your thoughts about God with you. The more we consciously make ourselves aware of God’s presence with us, the more peace we will experience. Blessings!

Heal the Wounds

Isaiah 61: 1             Passion Translation

The mighty Spirit of Lord Yahweh is wrapped around me because Yahweh has anointed me, . . . He sent me to heal the wounds of the brokenhearted.

I have been thinking on this verse for some time now and I am not sure that we fully embrace its meaning or significance for our own personal experience. So, today, let’s think about the brokenhearted. Who are they? What does this verse imply or express for them?

First, who are the brokenhearted? Well, at some level it is each of us, right? Raise your hand if you have never had a hurt heart. Everyone has suffered heartbreak. It’s part of life but so is healing and that is where I want to focus today. Before we look at healing, let’s think about how one suffers heartbreak.

We often think of a romantic breakup, maybe even a divorce. If that doesn’t hurt your heart, then you need heart surgery to replace that stone heart with a human one. Of course, it hurts. You would be a lesser being if it didn’t. What about the death of a loved one? That’s heartbreaking. What else? Each of has lived through times that threatened to splinter our hearts beyond repair. For me, one of the hardest was the second knee injury which effectively closed the door on my collegiate sports. We each can point to many times when our hearts took a very hard knock. In some cases, the injury was so acute that we failed to heal. Some were battered and bruised; others shattered. Some healed, others continue to suffer the brokenness. However, there is hope and there is help and you know help’s name.

The Passion Translation calls this chapter, “Messiah’s Mission.” One of the anointings which is upon Jesus is for healing. Yahweh anointed Jesus to heal the wounds of our broken hearts. Many of you can attest to how Jesus lifted you in your darkest moments. You can tell of how Jesus touched your broken heart and made you whole again. Unfortunately, there are even more people for whom this story is incomplete. They have yet to experience the fullness, the completeness of Jesus’ healing. Perhaps, though, each of us has at least a small injury which is still unhealed, one that would benefit from the master’s touch.

The reason some of you are enjoying healing and others are plagued by lingering damage is your ability to open that injured heart to Jesus’ ministrations. Some of us are too busy to spend time letting Jesus touch our hearts. Some of us are just too lazy. Both are ridiculous excuses, but they work. We don’t slow down long enough or spend enough quiet time with Jesus to ever let him touch our hearts. We only slow down long enough to talk; not long enough, to hear. Some won’t even read to the end of this devotion to hear what the Lord would say to them when he is desperate to touch them and relieve their suffering.

The other major impediment to healing is fear. One of the reasons people don’t slow down and listen to the voice of our Lord is because they are afraid of what he will say, afraid of what he will see within us, and deathly afraid of seeing it for ourselves. We can be afraid of the healing too. That gets played out in the world all the time. People are sick but afraid to go to the doctor for a diagnosis. It’s crazy but it’s real, and it’s powerful. Some people are so afraid that the healing, whether by medical science or by Jesus, is going to be painful that they choose to live with the pain of the injury. That also is ludicrous, but we are pain avoidance organisms. Even though we have the ability to think and reason, many times base emotions overrule rationality.

I wish I could touch you and heal your emotions. I wish, with a word, I could evaporate the scars from your broken heartedness, but each of us must make that individual decision to be healed. Those who do not allow themselves to heal end up inflicting their pain on others and then it becomes a vicious cycle. Let me be the one who tells you the truth about the pain of healing. Yes, it hurts. HOWEVER, it is so very brief and miniscule in comparison to the pain brought about by the lack of healing. Yes, I remember facing down the fear in my own life, but the pain of healing is so small and temporary that I have learned to face it much more bravely. It is an instant whereas people live their entire lives with a broken heart. They live a superficial, meaningless existence because they are too afraid to go deep. It is a horrible existence when they could have freedom. They could be healed and enjoy the joy of Jesus’ Spirit. Worst of all, their misery is contagious. They spread it to their family and friends. There is no relief for them because they don’t truly know the healer. They may be Christians, but they don’t “know” Jesus. Jesus has been anointed to heal our hearts. Yahweh sent him into the earth to remedy the brokenness. If we want to live as realized Christians, we must allow him into every part of our lives, even those dark corners where we have clustered every hurt and disappointment.

Who do you know who needs a touch from Jesus? Who do you know who has, at one time or another, had their heart broken? Will you send them this word of encouragement today? Beloved, Jesus came to heal us. He is real and his love is real. He can touch a heart and make it whole. He put himself on a cross so that we would not have to live slaves to our hurts. Won’t you reach out to him today? Won’t you let him bless and heal you? Share this with someone you love and let them know that Jesus wants to heal their hearts with his love.
As always, my phone line and email inbox are open if you need assistance. Bless the Lord! Bless you!

What a Day!

Luke 2: 8 – 13           Complete Jewish Bible

In the countryside nearby were some shepherds spending the night in the fields, guarding their flocks, when an angel of Adonai appeared to them, and the Sh’khinah of Adonai shone around them. They were terrified; but the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, because I am here announcing to you Good News that will bring great joy to all the people. This very day, in the town of David, there was born for you a Deliverer who is the Messiah, the Lord. Here is how you will know: you will find a baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” Suddenly, along with the angel was a vast army from heaven praising God.

This is the familiar Christmas story but from a version you may not have read before. Today we get to look at this passage through Jewish eyes. Imagine, then, what it was like to be a Jewish shepherd 2000 years ago. Everyone had been taught about the coming Messiah. They were looking for him. As God sent Moses when the nation was in slavery in Egypt, they looked to heaven for God to send His savior to free them from the occupying forces of Rome. Behold, an angel appeared from God, Adonai, announcing that the savior, the deliverer has come.

You would expect bedlam to breakout. The long awaited deliverer had come. Any message brought by an angel is sure to be important but what of this Sh’khinah of Adonai? We would usually call this the “glory” of God, but the Jews have a bigger vision of the word. It is more than a shining light. It is more than a bright glow. This is the radiant presence of the Lord. The Sh’khinah glory of the Lord is what preceded and accompanied the Jews in the desert during the Exodus. When the angel appeared to the shepherds this “glory” enveloped everyone, not just the angel. The shepherds were bathed in and encompassed about by the light which was the sheen that radiates off of the Father. He was there, in that moment, to bring the good news about His son being born. Of course, the shepherds were overwhelmed by this presence and the angelic messenger. They were in the midst of an other worldly kind of event. Many times when an angel appeared to someone in scripture their first words were “Do not be afraid,” because people can be very startled by the appearance of spiritual beings. The shepherds apparently recovered themselves, though, because they stood there and received the angel’s message. Then, as if they had not been witnesses to a most amazing event, the host of heaven joined with that angel messenger in praise to the Lord. This version tells us that suddenly there was a vast army of heavenly beings there with the angelic messenger.

What a day in those shepherds’ lives. I bet they were never the same again. I wonder what the sheep did. Could they see the angels, the glory and the huge, heavenly entourage? Imagine those sheep as the ones selected for the sacrifice. That must have been some sacrifice after the Sh’khinah got all over the sheep.

It’s fun picturing these events as we read our Bibles. It’s also a fabulous way to receive revelation. Once you begin to run the movie suggested by the words the scripture comes alive. Imagine yourself as one of the shepherds sitting out in a field, bored to tears, watching a bunch of sheep when all of a sudden an angel appears, especially the angelic herald of the Savior, Messiah, Deliverer. That was a day to remember for them and one we still marvel over all these years later.

From Christmas to the Cross

Romans 12: 10        (Amplified)

Love one another with brotherly affections [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another.

This is a tall order to fill. Nonetheless, God would not have given us this directive if He had not also empowered us to do it. This, being the season of ultimate love, it is worthwhile to look at love from the author of love, our own dear Father. Even as we celebrate the birth of Christ, our sight drifts forward to the sure knowledge of Calvary. While the angels sang and the shepherds rejoiced in pure delight for the arrival of the Messiah, God in heaven knew the destiny of the babe, though men did not know. They did not realize that the Messiah would save all by sacrificing himself. Men thought of a conquering Lord of war. Little did they know that Jesus would overcome by his stripes and it was his deep and abiding love for you and me that gave him the strength to receive those stripes. It was love that brought him into the earth and it was love that put him on that cross. And it is love that will carry us all home.

He now lives inside of us. Because of that, his love also lives inside of us. We are able to love in a holy, self-sacrificial way because love has come and made its abode with us. Because He first loved, we love. And not because anyone deserves our love. Many do not deserve yours or God’s love, but He showed us how to love even when we were undeserving and unworthy. Now by his grace and because of His love and mercy, we love others, even the unlovely; those who are difficult to love. He loves them so we allow His love to work through us. Because He first loved a people; a person, who was unworthy of love and even unwilling to be loved, we allow him to express himself through us. During this season, His love is more touchable than ever. Let your heart be soft allowing him to fill you to overflowing with His goodness and love. Then pass it on. In his name.