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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Woman Who Was Healed By a Touch

When life is confusing and tumultuous, when fears, shame, and guilt run rampant; when circumstances and people threaten us, we want relief. We want access to the merciful physician. Mark 5:25–43 speaks of a mystery woman in the crowd who had been slowly bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal and spent everything she had. She was desperate. She heard that Jesus was coming.

As the crowd gathered, she thought, If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed. (Notice she goes to Jesus; she does not wait around for Him to find her.) Jesus was near. She touched His robe. “Im- mediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering” (29).

Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” The woman stepped up. Trembling, she knelt before Him and told her story. No one listened before. But when this woman reached out to Jesus, He said, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (34). These words represent hope!

Jewish law considered her unclean, unsocial, and she must have been weak from anemia. She spent all her money on doctors but nothing worked. Jesus called her “daughter.” This is the only time when Jesus calls a woman “daughter.”

Jesus gave her a name when no one else did—a name worthy of a child created in the image of God, equal in value and giftedness. A precious daughter of the King, she became royalty. A princess, just like you and me! After her encounter with Jesus, I’m sure feelings of shame, inferiority, and low self-esteem began to decrease.

This story offers us encouragement. We can all count the ways we personally relate to her. The hand that touched that woman can touch you. Scripture says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). When Jesus walked this planet, He gave dignity and worth to every person.

One woman told me, “The messages I got from my family were always negative. I never felt love or acceptance. Then I touched Jesus and realized that God loves me just the way I am!”

What insights from the bleeding woman story can you apply to your situation? In what ways can you personally relate to her?

This is an excerpt from the book "I'm Beautiful? Why Can't I See It?" by author Kimberly Davidson

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Could I Really Be Addicted to Busyness?

We have come to believe in this culture, and in the church, if we’re not busy then we’re not significant. See how important I am because I’m so busy! Busyness can too be an idol.

What lies behind busyness apparently isn’t simply ambition and drive; it’s the dread of what we might have to face in its absence. This is because “busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance and hedge against emptiness.” It fills the soul-hole—temporarily.

• Are you addicted to busyness, feeling you need to be constantly doing something?
• Do you do it all: work, run the house, raise the children, take care of the finances, volunteer at the PTA and the church, go to Bible study?
• If you lose electrical power to your home do you feel you will go stark raving mad because your activities have been subverted?

If we choose to spend more of our time looking to God, most likely we’ll soon forget our idols. The starting point is here, “Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge” (Proverbs 23:12). God’s holy Word has the power to transform the human personality and fill the soul-hole.

Pray: “Lord, your Word says to guard myself from idols. Search my heart and help me to understand the intent of my thoughts. You know the idols in my life which compete with you. Show me and help me to turn from them and serve you only. In Jesus’s name. Amen.”

It's better to be busy than bored; but being too busy to pray is a clear indication our schedule is no longer under the Holy Spirit's control. Jesus interspersed periods of intense activity with seasons of withdrawal, carefully guarding His spiritual and emotional well-being. What has a hold on your heart today? Are you living separated from God? Answer these questions: What am I living for? Who am I living for?

"[God]He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul."~ Psalm 23:2-3

This is an excerpt from the book "Something Happened On My Way To Hell" by author Kimberly Davidson

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Bible is Full of Errors and Unreliable!

No doubt you’ve heard this said before. We live in a world of unbelievers, and even some Christians believe the Bible is full of errors. I read a very good defense written by Norman L. Geyser in his book titled Reasons for Belief. As Christians we need to be ready to defend our faith and our Bible. Let me summarize what he said about so-called errors in the New Testament (NT). It’s very interesting!

First we need to say that if the New Testament is unreliable, then our beliefs about Jesus—his birth, life, death, and resurrection, have no basis in fact. Atheists and agnostics charge that the NT copies differ in so many places that there are too many too count. The fact is these statements are not true. Geisler contends that o understand how errors are counted we should consider that, for example, there is more than one way to spell the name Ann. Let’s say someone used that name in an original manuscript. The time passed and the next scribe hand-copied the text [there were no printing presses]. This scribe spells the name Anne. Then as time goes by, suppose 3,000 copies get made based on that change. Do we say there is one error or 3,000 errors (page 100)?

What we need to keep in mind is that of the several “types” of errors they do not affect our beliefs. Geisler gives a few examples (page 101):

1. Spelling, grammar, or punctuation that got changed or updated.
2. Out of date phrases or words divided differently.
3. A letter or word that was omitted or copied twice. Similar letters that were confused. Did Solomon’s stables hold 4,000 or 12,000 horses (see 1 Kings 4:26; 2 Chronicles 9:25)?
4. Some texts refer to the “Lord Jesus Christ,” others the “Lord Jesus.”
5. Some texts refer to “the twelve,” others “the twelve disciples.”

Geisler writes, “As it happens, the first edition of Bart Ehrman’s book (Misquoting Jesus), which reportedly was 100,000 copies, contained at least sixteen errors. If we applied the same method to determine the number of errors,, we’d have to say Misquoting Jesus contained 1.6 million mistakes, even though not one “error” affected his intended message” (page 101) Tis true. My books have spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors, yet the message is still clear.

Okay, this is the point. Not one supposed error impacts the meaning of the text or accuracy of a doctrine. No Christian belief has been altered because of these errors. According to Geisler, we can accurately reconstruct beyond question more than 99% of the original text. While some other texts are very accurate, the NT is the most accurate text we do have from the ancient world (page 103). Think about this: if we can’t trust the Bible, then we can’t trust other ancient documents and accounts.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Who Do You Want to Be Like?

“In the Christian book market books about Jesus Christ don’t sell.” Huh? What? is what you’re probably thinking. This best-selling author and renowned pastor confirmed what I thought and feared (and it explains my book sales!) One of his points was that we Christians don’t want to be like Jesus Christ. We want to be like our cultural idols. I know teens often think, I wanna be like Lady Gaga…I wanna look like Katy Perry…I wanna be like LeBron James…I wanna rap like Jay-Z…I wanna be Selena Gomez…I wanna be famous! What about us adults?

This pop culture, via the media, has made it quite clear: celebrities (or “celebs”) matter—and we are star-struck by them. The gospel of celebrity is powerful in many Christians lives. As a culture, we are fascinated with celebrities because they appear to live extraordinary lives.

The word extraordinary literally means extra ordinary, as in, way more than average, exceptional. Based on what we read, hear, and see, we believe celebrities live amazingly full lives and get to do extraordinary things—things we’d really like to do. But we must ask ourselves, is that to live authentically, which is to live as your real self, the person God created you to be?

There is nothing wrong with seeking to live extraordinarily. God put that desire in each of us. He has called us to live an authentic life, to shine and rise above the ordinary. Countless teens and adults seek authenticity and the extraordinary. Yet they spend too much time aimlessly looking for value in the wrong places while it is right in front of their face. Obsession keeps us from living an authentic, fulfilling life—unless that obsession is on God. He is much more concerned about what is happening on the inside of us. He wants our passion to be directed toward himself and his Son, Jesus Christ, not a celebrity lifestyle.

2 Peter 1:3 promises: “His [Jesus’s] divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him” (NIV). We have available to us the kind of power it takes to avert ourselves from idolizing tragic figures of fantasy. We are all weak. But there is Jesus, who is powerful enough to make us strong. We must rely every day on God’s dynamic presence. As our inner life grows and prospers in him, our outward life follows. God wants to make us living letters to the world that shows everyone what he can do with human life. Everyday authentic people, young and old, are doing extraordinary things powered by God.

This world desperately needs authenticity. What our souls really desire is not mere imitation but radical identification. That is, becoming one with Christ as his life becomes enmeshed with ours. The Bible says that God, “In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change” (Romans 2:4, MSG). The trademark of a Christian is the transformation into a new and far more authentic person.

Many today say they don’t want “religion” because it’s too binding and controlling. They’d be right; many religions and practices are. Bob Dylan sang, “You’re gonna have to serve somebody.” God even said, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15, NIV). Every person has a choice between serving two masters: an icon or Jesus Christ.

In first chapter of A Purpose-Driven Life, Pastor Rick Warren writes,"It’s not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose."

Consider the words of the Shorter Westminster Catechism: “The chief end of man is to serve God and enjoy him forever.” In fact, empirical evidence now shows that human beings may be born with a desire for a relationship with a “Transcendent Other,” and that longing begins to reveal itself in children as young as three years old.

God tells us, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5, NIV). Our purpose is not to copy or out do the next person or to become famous and wealthy. We shouldn’t be trying to fit in so hard when God has made each one of us an original. Every person has been set apart to do something no one else can do.

The apostle John said, “…in this world we are like him [Jesus]” (1 John 4:17). In other words, as a believer we can be the mirror image of Jesus. The Bible says we have been created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). What we see and hear in Christ is what God intended man to be. We learn about the image of God by studying the life and work of Jesus Christ—the divine prototype.The starting point is realizing that developing an authentic relationship with Jesus takes time, intention, risking trust, and may involve traveling on some tough roads—just like any other important relationship. As we come to know Jesus on a personal level and fix our thoughts on him we become more like him and difference makers in this tough world.

The best coaches will tell you that their job is to push each person on the team do what they don’t want to do so they can reach the goals they’ve dreamed about. These people don’t have to do what the coach tells them—they choose to. Basketball Hall of Fame player and coach John Wooden said, “There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.” So again I ask you, “who do you want to be like?”

Food for thought: BIll O'Reilly's book Killing Jesus is coming out soon. I will be curious to see how it sells compares to his best-sellers Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy. We'll see! Thanks for checking in today!