Happy Christmas & Merry New Year!!

New Busted Thoughts will be posted after the first of the year. Have a great Holiday Season. Remember: Holidays stands for Holy Days. There is just no escaping God.

The Demon Dude

This latest healing is found in Matt 12:22-23. It’s number 10 in the list of the recorded healing in the Gospels. We have no idea where this healing falls in the scope of all the healings Jesus performed when he walked the earth. A few times in the Gospels it was only recorded that He healed many. The very last verse in the Gospel of John states “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” So, we’ll just give it the 10 spot on the Gospel Healing count down, or would it be the count up???

As far as titling this one we’ll call it the Demon Dude. The NIV gave the group of scriptures this is found in the title of “Jesus and Beelzebub.” That’s because in Matt 12:24-37 Jesus and the Pharisees got into a verbal spat. Jesus won that one. Come to think of it, Jesus won all of the verbal spats. That’s another subject series; let’s get on with this healing series.

First the scripts that recorded the redemption:

Matt 12:22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, "Could this be the Son of David?"

There is a little controversy here. It appears Luke recorded the same story. It’s found in Luke 11:14-16. The problem is that if this was the same story that Luke recorded then it would throw the chronological list all off track – or so says one of the theologians I refer to a lot. Since Matt had a knack for not following the chronological order then Luke may just have this one in the right place. If that is the case then this healing is #21 instead of #10 on the list; but the difference between Matt’s and Luke’s record is that Matt stated this guy was demon possessed, blind, & mute whereas Luke 11:14 only states that Jesus casted out a dumb demon, I mean a demon that caused dumbness, wait, wait, I mean a demon that caused a dude not to speak. . .there we go. Since Luke was always very detailed in his records, I am going with the fact that Matt’s record and Luke’s record where 2 completely different healings. So onward with Matt’s recorded.

At first glance it appears that this guy was demon-possessed and because of that possession he was blind and mute. But could Jesus have done a triple play on this guy? Could this guy have had a need of three separate healings instead of just the casting out of the demon? We know from the Gospels that demons do cause physical problems such as muteness (Luke 11:14) but now that I look at Matt’s account, it may be that this guy had three separate things going on. I looked up the Greek word used here for demon possession, it’s daimonizomai by the way, and it seems to be a violent possession that is distinguished from other kinds of sickness. I think this guy had a trifecta going on here. He had 3 separate problems. What a bummer for him. Well, it was a bummer till he met Jesus. The one knock against my whole argument for this guy having three things wrong with him would be what the end of Matt 12:22 says. It states “Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.” It only list 2 things. But whether the demon caused the vision and speech problem or this guy had three separate things going on here Jesus, the great healer, took care of it all. And of course He would. That is what He came here to do. He came here to earth to set the captive free. Isaiah 53 prophesied that Jesus would be “pierced for our transgressions…crushed for our iniquities….and by his wounds we are healed.” That healing was not for just one sickness but all manner of sickness, disease, depression, oppression, and possession.

In Matt 12:22 there are 4 words that stand out above any theological debate. Those 4 words are “and Jesus healed him.” Going through the different translations they all record about the same three or four words. The AMP states “and He cured him.” King James says “and He healed him.” The Message phrases it this way “Jesus healed him.” The Darby puts it this way “and he healed him.” I don’t think I’ve ever used the Darby translation--thank you Bible Gateway! What this tells me is that it doesn’t matter if we have one or multiple issues of sickness, Jesus has taken care of them all. This guy had some serious problems in his life but Jesus restored him. Since God is no respecter of persons, if we allow Him to, He will restore us too.

Stay blessed y’all, it’s your choice.
jimmy

The Widow’s Son Pt. 2

Be Still and Know I’m God!

I was going to go after the whole Sovereignty of God thing buuuuuuuttttt, let’s just say through the study of the healings of Jesus we find that He never left anyone sick that wanted to be healed. That’s Jesus walking in God’s Sovereignty. It is God’s will to heal. I feel the need to focus in on something else found in this story of the Widow’s Son. I started to hit it hard at the end of the last entry but it can be pressed into a little further. Let’s read the story again and then go after it.

Luke 7:11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."
14 Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people." 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

A few weeks back we flew to and from Wichita, Ks. I used the flight time to catch up on some reading. The book, Discover the Keys to Staying Full of God by Andrew Wommack, was not at all covering this subject. But while reading I started thinking on this story. I didn’t mean to, it just happened. In all of that, a scripture came to mind. It was the 1st part of Psalm 46:10. It states “Be still and know that I am God.” Be still and know.

Let’s break down real quick Psalms 46:10 all Greek style. Wait, Ps 46:10 is O.T. so that means we have to break it down all Hebrew style. . . OK, let’s focus in on 2 words: Still & Know. The Hebrew word for “Still” is Raphah. Raphah is really “Be Still.” That makes sense. Here it means to relax or to be quiet. The Hebrew word for “Know” here is Yada. It means “to perceive and see, find out and discern, to discriminate, distinguish, to know by experience, to recognize, to. . .” you get the point.

When Jesus, the Living Word, came up to the casket, this woman did what Ps 46:10 says to do. She kept her mouth still (silent) and she learned who God was. She stayed still and she learned the loving touch of God. She stayed still and she learned the healing touch of God. She stayed still and she learned, from the Living Word of God, the resurrecting and restoring power of God. Could it be that many of us are not receiving what we need because we won’t keep our mouths still and learn from His Word the restoring Power of God? We may be doing a great job at learning what our doctors are saying but are we learning what His Word says about our health? We may be doing a great job of listening to our financial advisers but are we learning what His Word says about finances? Stink, let’s take this further. We may be doing a great job listening to our pastors but are we learning, for ourselves, what His Word says about our hope, our salvation, the Kingdom of God? I am not advocating for you to not listen to your doctors, financial advisers, or pastors; I’m just saying that we need to be still and know for ourselves that God is God.

Who knows if this widow had heard of Jesus before this funeral? He was becoming pretty popular. Maybe she heard of His fame. Maybe she was looking for the chance to see Him, or have her sick son meet Him. We just read that a huge crowd followed Him for a full day+ trip, but many traveled great distances to meet Jesus for the healing touch of their loved ones. Remember the official, or the Centurion, or even the bunch of friends that broke apart a roof to get their buddy to Jesus feet. Luke does not record this lady’s status, outside her being a widow, before she met Jesus. He doesn’t say she was rich or poor. Maybe some theologian can figure out by the funeral procession what her status was within this village. What we do know this about her is that when she was before the Great Healer she stood still and in that stillness she got to know how Great God is.

I love this study because I’m learning how our Healing Savior carried out His healing touch. One last thing that I did not hit till now; it’s the first part of Luke 7:13. It states “13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her.” That’s how my Sovereign God acts. His heart goes out to me, and you, whoever else is reading this. How awesome is it that God’s heart goes out to us.? Thanks for taking the time to read

Stay blessed y’all, it’s your choice.
jimmy

The Widow’s Son Pt. 1

The great tear dryer

I loved the Da’ Centurion series and I know there is so much more to milk out of it, but we must move on; and what a story to move onto. This one is good, really good. It’s short but sweet. Luke was the only one to capture it. Let’s read what the good doctor penned down and come back to talk in a few.

Luke 7:11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."
14 Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people." 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

Can I rant about the whole God Sovereignty thing? Can I? Ok, I’ll wait till the next entry, but y’all have been forewarned. We better discuss the healing first. From the top: Luke 7:11 starts out with “soon afterward.”. . .soon after what? It was soon after Jesus had left Capernaum. The cool thing with the Centurion just happened in Capernaum and now Jesus, the disciples, and a large group of tag-a-longs were heading into the village Nain. Nain was about 21 miles from Capernaum so that meant Jesus & crew were hiking for real. That was some serious walking. TAXI!! Or better yet for that crowd: CHARTER BUSSES!!Thank God for modern transportation. This gives us a glimpse of how popular Jesus was becoming. Not only did Jesus and the 12 make that hike, but a large crowd came along walking for 21 miles. Jesus was that cool to be around.

So now we get into the healing, or rather the raising. As Jesus and crew were walking into the village they ran into a funeral. That’s not uncommon, funerals happen all the time. But Luke makes it clear that the funeral was for the only son of a widow. What Luke does not record is the fact that no one came up begging for this guy to be raised from the dead. Jesus, Sovereign Savior, had compassion and touched the coffin. We better go through the sequence of events recorded from V13 through V15:

1. The Lord saw her
2. He said to the woman “Don’t cry” (crazy, her son just died!!)
3. He went up & touched the coffin.
4. Those carrying it stood still.
5. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”
6. Dude sat up and started yappin’.

Did you notice that they did not stop till he touched the coffin? What made them stop? Wait, if I jump into that then we’ll have 3 parts to this healing and I only planned on doing 2. I better back up and start with what Jesus said to the Widow at the end of V13. He said this: “Don’t cry.” Who is going to tell a Widow, at the funeral for her only son, to stop crying? He did no t say to stop crying but rather “don’t cry.” Who would do that? Jesus would and did. What’s amazing is that the woman did not smack Jesus. And what’s more amazing is the funeral crowd didn’t try to stone Jesus. Back to the widow with her non response: her silent response screams a whole lot. With her silence she allowed Jesus to speak a miracle into her life. She shut up so He could speak. What if she would have spoken up; what if she told Jesus where to go? Well, I imagine the guys that were carrying the coffin would not have stopped. I imagine this kid would have stayed dead. I imagine that the widow would have been begging for the peace that passes all understanding (like she probably did when her husband passed). I imagine her son would have been buried. But that did not happen. Instead Jesus touched the coffin and the kid sat up. As a matter of fact, he not only sat up, but he started talking. I wonder what he was saying.

Why was Jesus able to touch the coffin? Why did the kid come back to life? Why did he start talking? It was because the widow allowed Jesus to speak. When we allow the Word* to speak into our lives miracles happen.

How many miracles do we miss out on because we won’t let God speak into our lives? With the last healing we talked about the greatest act of faith and what that was. That great action of faith was the Centurion wanting the Word. How many miracles do we miss out on because we never turn to His Word properly?

What do I mean by properly? Let me give you an example. 1st Pet 2:24 makes a point to state that “by His wounds you have been healed.” Peter makes sure that that was written in the past tense, not present tense like Isaiah 53:5. Peter is stating that Jesus already paid the price and all we have to do is reach out and grab what’s been paid for. But some theologians like to rain on God’s healing parade and say that 1st Pet 2:24 is talking about some type of spiritual healing instead of physical healing. Really? Peter was a physical dude. Peter physically walked with Jesus. Peter physically saw Jesus physically heal many of those delivered in the Gospels. Peter saw the physical resurrected body of Christ. He was there when Thomas was shown the physical scars (John 20:24-29). Peter physically pulled that lame dude to his feet outside the temple (Act 3:1-10). So do you really think Peter is writing about some pseudo-spiritual healing? NO! When he physically wrote down that “by His wounds you have been healed” he is stating you are completely, physically healed. He stated in 2nd Pet 1:16 that he physically witnessed the actions of Jesus. Shoot, he physically participated. But that is just one example of turning to the Word properly.

Let me end this rant this way. Church, it’s time to shut up and listen to God and His Word. Dry those tears and grab that Word or just carry on with the funeral. That might sound harsh, but Jesus said to a widow ready bury her only son “Don’t Cry.”

Stay blessed y’all, it’s your choice.
jimmy

*John 1:1 & 14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.”
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Da’ Cent Pt. 3

Now That’s Heavy!

The Centurion, this guy had top notch faith. That has been well established. There is not much more I can squeeze out of this orange, is there? Well, I’ve got one more thing for us to look at. I am sure there is plenty more juice here, but I am only going to give it one more squeeze before moving onto chronological healing #9.

Matthew 8:5-13
5When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6"Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering."
7 Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him."
8 The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour.

In Pt. 1 we covered the fact that up to this time this was the greatest--GREATEST--action of faith that Jesus had witnessed in the land of Israel. In Pt.2 We covered exactly what that action of faith was: it was the desire for Jesus’ Word over Jesus’ Touch. It was that simple action that proved to be the best. That’s it. That’s about all that needs to be said of the Centurion, right? I wish, but Matt’s account gives us something that is so harsh and so strong that it can’t be ignored. Oh Matt 8:11 & 12, how heavy you are! Jesus went from praising this dude’s faith to condemning a bunch to hell. CRAZY!!! We better discuss what Jesus said before moving onto Chronological healing #9.

Here is Matt 8:11 & 12 one more time, and remember Jesus stated this after recognizing this guy’s faith.

Matthew 8:11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

First let’s get after Verse 11. V11 really is not all that bad when you read it by itself. It’s a great prophecy but when you combine it with V12 it turns into a sobering script. In V11 Jesus said “many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” Without diving into the Greek translation of “many” I think it’s safe to assume that many means MANY. That’s a good thing. In Pt. 1 of “Da’ Centurion” I pointed out that the Cent was not a Jew so he did not grow up with the teaching of the O.T. If you haven’t read Pt.1 of the Cent then stop reading this one and go back and read Pt.1 & Pt.2. The Cent was just one of the MANY that have, are, and will come. I’m one of the many that is coming to the feast. I can’t really tell you if I’m from the East or the West that Jesus was referring to. My last name has German roots but even that is sketchy. But I can tell you with much confidence that my ancestors came from the Garden of Eden. What happened between the Garden and now is really anyone’s guess. . . Anyway, I really hope that you who are reading this are a part of the “many.”. If not then email me and we can talk about how to get into that feast.

Now for Verse 12: “But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Oh wow. Hello Hell. Remember where Jesus was and who he was talking to when he said this. He was not in Spain. He was not in South America. He was right there in promised land boldly stating this. Both Matt 8:10 and Luke 7:1 kick this story off stating that Jesus had just entered Capernaum. Get a map and look where Capernaum is. Better yet get all techie and Google Earth where Capernaum is. Jesus’ crowd that day was Jewish. They were the “subjects of the Kingdom” that Jesus was talking about. Jesus just told a bunch of Jewish people--who because of their birth right felt they deserved to be at the feast--that they would be replaced by peeps from all over. Not only did He say they were going to be replaced but he also said where the subjects were going to be sent to. Why would Jesus say that? That is not a very seeker-friendly statement. That’s bold! The reason why Jesus said that is because of Faith. They (the kingdom subjects) lacked faith. Compared to this Gentile they lacked faith. Hebrews 11:6 states “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” They never fully bought into who Jesus was. But the Cent did; so much so that he realized the power of the Savior’s Word.

Are we, as the New Testament Church, any better? James 2:17-19 states “17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” Last year I had the privilege of teaching a class on the book of James. In studying for that class I realized that James was writing to the same people that just some 20 years before turned the world upside down--the same people recorded in the first half of the book of Acts. Are we so capable of loosing our faith to? Matt 7:16 states “By their fruit you will recognize them.” It’s time we best check our fruit and make sure it’s fresh.

I know this could get deeper into the grand old theological question of “once saved, always saved” but really I just want us to keep our place @ the King’s table. Many more from the east and west can and will join us because His food is GREAT, but I tell ya I’m not losing my spot. Best way to keep yours: TAKE THAT WORD and STAY FRESH!!
Stay blessed y’all, it’s your choice.
jimmy

Da’ Cent Pt. 2

I don’t need your touch, but just say the …

Let’s get after it people. In Pt.1 of Da’ Centurion we discovered that this simple act of faith astonished Jesus; or should I say Jesus was astonished at his faith. Jesus stated that this guy’s faith act was the greatest act of faith that He had witnessed in the land of Israel. Crazy! I want that said of me and my actions of faith. But now we need to get into what was the faith action that astonished Jesus. Let’s read Matt 8:5-13 again and then get into it.

Matthew 8:5-13
5When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6"Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering."
7 Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him."
8 The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour.

So what was that one faith action that shocked Jesus? In Matt 8:6 the Cent tells Jesus what’s going on. He states "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering." In the very next verse (Matt 8:7) Jesus states He would go and take care of the problem. Matt 8:8-9 records the Cent stating “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." The dude is a military man. He understands how to give and receive orders. I think it would do a lot of people good to be in the military for just a bit so that they could get a better understanding how authority works, but I digress. . .Let’s go back to the statement. Why is it such a big deal?

On the surface it does not look like the Cent did anything big, but let’s compare what he did to two Old Testament heroes of Faith. Let’s compare the Cent to Moses and Elijah. I’m picking Moses and Elijah because they appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36). They must have done something right in their lives to reappear with Jesus on top of that hill!

1. Moses. This guy did incredible things in the name of God. He motivated 1,000,000+ people to shake off slavery and head out towards a promised land. You need FAITH to do that. There is one story about Moses’ leadership and personality that I just love. In Exodus 32:10 God stated He was done with the children of Israel and would start all over with Moses. The very next verse (Ex 32:11) states that “Moses sought favor of the Lord his God. ‘O Lord,’ he said ‘why should your anger burn against your people’…” Instead of taking the opportunity for God to make him into a great name/nation he asked God to spare Abraham’s seed. That’s huge! But how did the Cent trump Moses? Even in all his greatness, Moses still needed a touch from the Lord. A visual touch but a touch nonetheless. After the great miracles that happened in Egypt, after the splitting of the Red Sea, even after the bread from heaven and everything else recorded in the Exodus Moses still asked to see God, to see His Glory. Exodus 33:12-23 records that story. I’ve wanted to see God too. Years ago I worked 2nd and 3rd shift custodial/security for a church. Late at night I would sing, at the top of my lungs, SonicFlood’s worship song “I want to know you” but I quickly realized how freaked out I would be if God actually revealed Himself to me at 2am in a huge church sanctuary.

2. Elijah. Come on: ELIJAH! I like Elisha better because he was the bald headed prophet, but Elijah was the man. Elijah called fire down from heaven. FIRE FROM HEAVEN!! He punked a bunch of false prophets. I love that story. It’s found in 1st Kings 18. “What, is your god stuck on the toilet?” That’s the New King Jimmy version of 1st Kings 18:27. When you have some free time read through the books of 1st & 2nd Kings. There are some great stories of faith actions in there. But in 1st Kings 19 we see Elijah needing a touch from God. In 1st Kings 19 Elijah is hiding out in a cave on the mountain of God. Elijah did not get to see God that day but he did hear God’s gentle whisper. I’ve cried out to hear that whisper. Just last year in a deep worship service I remember crying out to hear His voice. I just wanted to hear something.

What sets the Cent apart from Moses and Elijah is that the Cent didn’t need Jesus’ touch. He didn’t even want Jesus’ touch. Read again what he said: “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word.” He just wanted Jesus’ Word. He didn’t even talk to Jesus, his buddies did. I know Matt records the Cent talking to Jesus but Luke 7:6 states “So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the Centurion sent friends to say to him: ‘Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.’” The Cent’s friends were acting as power of attorney for him, that’s why Matt records it as if the Cent was before Jesus himself. Moses needed to see God, Elijah needed to hear God, but the Cent just needed the Word. That is what set his faith apart from all the others in history. We so often beg for a touch from God but what we really need is His Word. Hebrews 4:12 says the Word is “living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow.” “Living and Active” means the word is actively alive. Now I’m not saying it’s bad to desire a touch from God and that God won’t touch your life, but just putting that desire into perspective: We have God’s Word.

Back to the story, Jesus was ready to go to the Cent’s house. Jesus was going to give His touch and I fully believe that if Jesus did touch the servant then the servant would have been healed. But if the Cent took Jesus’ touch over Jesus’ Word then the Cent’s servant would have had to wait, and wait, and wait for that needed healing. Since the Cent opted for the Word over the Touch Matt 8:13 declares “And his servant was healed at that very hour.”

This story is very similar to the first chronological healing. If you recall the story from John chapter 4 the Official son was healed because the Official took Jesus at His word. The difference between the Official’s faith and the Cent’s faith is that the Official really wanted Jesus to come but the Cent just needed that Word.

We can wait for God’s touch, and I believe He will touch our lives where we need it, or we can be Super Stars of Faith and just take the Word. Once again, Hebrews 4:12 states “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Stay Blessed y’all, it’s your choice.
jimmy

Da’ Cent Pt 1

#8 on the chronological list of healings Jesus performed.

Ok, this one is intimidating--not because of the story itself but because every great theologian has covered this story. What possible new revelation could I bring to the table? Ah shucks, now I have to repent. First of all, studying the word of God is not a competition sport, and second faith comes by _____ and ____ the Word of God. What’s that? I can’t hear you? Faith comes by ________ and ________ the word of God. Ok, look up for yourselves how Faith comes in Romans 10:17.

This story is almost overwhelming. I know I won’t cover everything because there’s just so much here. Both Matt and Luke recorded this one. For the first few entries we’re going to go with Matt’s record.

Before we even get into this story lets talk about the author/recorder of this healing. Matt was a redeemed man. Just before this great display of faith Matt was ordained as one of the 12 disciples*; but really Matt had been following Jesus for some time. . .about a year. Before meeting Jesus, Matt was a tax collector. In the eyes of his fellow countrymen, Matt’s occupation was not an honorable job. He went by the name Levi when he did the collecting. Three of the gospels tell of his conversion: Matt 9:9, Mark 2:14, and Luke 5:28. All 3 record his name as Levi, but I guess with his spiritual change came a name change. The name Matthew means gift of the Lord. That’s much better than being called a robber of money. That’s not what Levi means, but it was what tax collectors had a reputation of doing. It was at Matt/Levi’s house that Jesus hung out with the tax collectors and sinners (Luke 5:29-33 ~ great story.) Luke’s record of Levi’s/Matt’s conversion is my favorite. Luke says this of Matt in Luke 5:28 “and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.”

What does all that have to do with the Centurion’s faith? Not much, but it give us a better insight into the person who was selected to record this gospel. No one is off limits for God’s use. Did you read that right? No one is off limits for God’s use. You can’t screw up your life too much to make yourself un-usable for God. Let’s read Matt’s account:

Matthew 8:5-13
The Faith of the Centurion
5When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6"Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering."
7 Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him."
8 The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour.

Let’s get at the jugular of this story: the displayed faith. The first part of verse 10 says: “When Jesus heard this, he was astonished…” Verse 10 finishes with Jesus saying: “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” Think about that. Jesus, God in the flesh, the same God that can’t lie, starts out by saying “I tell you the truth.” If Jesus says “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” then we best believe that in his 32 years to this point He had not seen such great faith as what the Centurion was displaying. What is amazing is that this Centurion was not a Jew. He probably did not grow up hearing about Father Abraham or Moses or Joshua. How did this guy catch on to what Faith was?

I need to back up. I just said in the last paragraph that in his 32 years Jesus had not seen such great faith in Israel. The first chapter of John** tells us that in the beginning was the Word and the Word became flesh, referring to Jesus. So Jesus would have seen all the acts/displays of faith in the land of Israel from the beginning of time all the way up to this point. Could Jesus be saying that from the beginning of time all the way to this point He had not seen such great faith displayed in the land of Israel? I would go into detail about all of the acts of faith listed out in the Old Testament and how this guy’s faith upstaged them all but that would be a book--a long book. Maybe someday when I convert this study over into a book I will list them, but on the short list think about Elijah and his actions of faith, Joshua and the children of Israel taking the land, or Little Man David killing the giant. All of those other things in the O.T. took some serious faith, but Jesus said this Centurion upstaged them all. WOW! Now I’m astonished at this guy’s faith. How would you like Jesus to say that about your faith display? That’s a pretty good point to leave on; short but strong. The next entry we’ll get into what exactly that faith action was.

Stay Blessed Y’all, It’s Your Choice.
jimmy



* Luke 6:12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

** John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood[a] it. John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

How being a Daddy hepls me understand my Heavenly Daddy.

This is another re-post but it’s the perfect weekend to re-release it. There are a few minor changes but it pretty much is the same post that I released back in Dec ’08.It was written right after Sasha, our youngest, was born. I don't think I let Kesha edit it just because I wanted to show the rawness of it all. Enjoy.

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I’m having a tough time putting this into proper words. I’m not an author, never tried to be. Like I said in my 1st blog entry, I always did better in Gym class then Grammar. My old pastor in Iowa once said he loved the way I wrote articles for our Youth Paper; he said the way I wrote was just like as if I was talking to you in person. I don’t know if that was a compliment or a slight suggestion for me to take a creative writing class. He once said that he admired how I showed my wife love by being willing to be late for church. I think that was his way of telling me to be on time. Anyway below is the best I could do for the moment. Maybe one day I’ll take that writing class so I can express the following better.

Sasha Grace was born on Wednesday Dec 3rd, 2008. She’s the newest Buster born into this wonderful world. She came out at 10:14am. Kesha had a pretty short labor, a little less then 4 hours but it seemed like it lasted forever. Kesha is such a Wonder Woman. The last few minutes before 1014 I felt the craziest, coolest rush that I’ve only felt one other time, that would be when Saige was born. I remember Kesha bearing down and pushing with all she had. I remember how my heart felt, forget that, I remember how my whole chest felt. It was ready to explode. When Sasha’s head popped out there was an extreme amount of emotions flooding all over me. I was ready to cry, laugh, shout, jump, or whatever all at the same time. I remember hearing her cry for the first time. WOW. Being a parent is so awesome. There are so many “WOW” moments involved with being a parent. The birthing process has to be right up there as one of the best “WOW” moments.

The Sunday following Sasha’s birth I ran Saige up to church. Our church (at the that time) was about 35 minutes away so I had a lot of thinking time on my hands. On the way I was reflecting on the whole birth process and the emotions that go with it. My thoughts switched from how I felt on that magical Wednesday to how God must feel about the whole Spiritual birthing process. What does God feel in the moments right before He knows we are about to pray the salvation prayer? Is His chest ready to explode? Are there tears of excitement gushing out of His eyes? I don’t remember the exact day that I prayed the salvation prayer but I bet He had all that stuff going on, but I wonder if He remembers it with such fondness as I do with both of my daughters’ births. Sure He does. Jesus gave us a glimpse into the character of our Heavenly daddy when He told the story of the prodigal son. The whole parable is found in Luke 15:11-32. I’m not going to type all of it out here; you can go back and read that for yourselves. I just want to point out one verse. In this verse you see God’s parental emotions in full effect. You see His love and anticipation for us. I know this is a story about a son returning from his mistakes but I believe the reaction of a loving parent is all the same. In verse 20 there are 5 words that stick out further then any other words in all of Luke 15:11-32. Those 5 words are “He ran to His son”.

I don’t remember the exact day in 79 when I was born again/spiritually born. I know I was about 5. It was at Westside Assembly of God. Pastor Barnett gave the alter call but it was my dad that prayed the salvation prayer with me. I remember I raised my hand and the preacher called all those who did so to come to the front. When I started to go my dad jumped out to go with me. I was thinking that it looked like my dad was answering the alter call. I knew that was not the case but I didn’t want every one else thinking that he was. Dad didn’t care; he was going up with his boy to lead him/me to Christ. My dad will always be a hero to me for what he did that day. Like I said, I don’t remember the exact day in 79. When your 5 growing up in church you answer about every alter call, but one alter call sticks out the most to me. I do remember December 6th 1996. For about 4 years after high school I ran from the things of God. My life pretty much resembled the prodigal son. That December Sunday morning at East Coast Christian Center in Merritt Island Florida I gave my life back to Christ. I remembered the way I cried, much like a new born: snotty nose and all. Luke 15:20 tells me how my Heavenly Daddy reacted on Dec 6th 1996 around 11am. “He ran…”

Taking hold of life that is truly life. Pt 2 again

Taking hold of life that is truly life. Pt 2
This is part 2 of Taking hold of Life series. It was originally posted back in Dec of ’08. It’s weird saying “back in Dec ‘08” That does and doesn’t seem so long ago. Enjoy the read.

I’m still loving the statement “Take hold of life that is truly life” from 1st Tim 6:19. When I first started to meditate on that phrase it seemed like such a “pie in the sky” kind of statement. After reading those 8 words my mind instantly went racing in all sorts of directions on what that could mean. One of the tracks was about what Jesus said in John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” I had this all mapped out in my mind exactly where I wanted to go with this entry but then I started reading all of verse 19. It seemed to take a whole different direction then where I wanted it to go. I would rather be guilty of proving the scriptures point then be guilty of using the scripture to prove my point. It drives me nuts when I hear people misusing scripts just prove their own point. That’s what the devil did while tempting Jesus, remember? So I really want to get this one right because 1: this phrase really excited me when I first read it and 2: I don’t want to play in the devil’s league. So let’s back up to what all of 19 says: “in this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of life that is truly life.” Verse 19 starts off with “In this way”, in what way? I gotta back up further. Verse 18 says: “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” So if they do good, be rich in good deeds, and be generous and willing to share then they will lay up a firm foundation for the coming age and they can do what my new favorite phrase says, but who are they? Gotta back up further! Verse 17 says “Command those WHO ARE RICH in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment”. Do you know that you can be poor and put your hope in wealth? That’s a subject for another day, let's move on. So Paul is talking about the rich that attends Timothy’s church, and really all the rich that are in the body of Christ. He’s saying to the rich to be rich in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share and if they do this then they will be laying up treasures and they can “take hold of life that is truly life.” He’s not rebuking the rich for being rich but just instructing them to be rich in good deeds. That’s getting kinda wordy. I’m gonna cut all that out and just get to the point. Paul is saying that if we do good deeds, we’re generous with what we have and share, then we’ll be laying up treasures and grabbing hold of true life. Got it, understand that. The funny thing is that Verses 17 thru 19 are part of Paul’s final charge to Tim; it’s the end of this letter. The full final charge is found in verses 11 thru 20. In Verse 12 Paul tells Tim to take hold of the eternal life; that is the same Greek phrase used in Verse 19. So really Verse 17 through 19 is echoing what Paul just told Tim to do himself. What Paul is saying here is “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”, sort of speak. Paul instructs Tim in verse 11 thru 12 to pursue righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Doesn’t that sound like some slices of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:21-23? I love what the end of Galatians 5:23 says about all the slices of the F. of S. “against such things there is no law”. There is no limit on me doing good! That means I can go crazy with self control. If I truly indulge in love, joy, peace, and all the others listed in Galatians 5 and according to Gal 5 there is no limit on how much I indulge in those actions then both 1 Tim 6:12 & 19 tells me that I’m gonna be laying up treasure and grabbing the life that is truly life. Going back to what Jesus said in John 10:10, He came to give that overwhelming life. Are you catching this? This is the life we’re made to live. I’ve tried living other ways outside of Christ and I just felt hollow. Now I find that when I chase after love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, if I’m rich in good deeds, I’m literally grabbing hold of life that is truly life. Typing all that out makes the list seem really long but it’s all really easy to do. Now I really am ready to explode with excitement. This is not some silly “pie in the sky” statement, but it’s an obtainable pie with some serious substance. I gonna float on cloud 9 with that for awhile but I can’t wait for my next entry. I want to break down “take hold of life that is truly life” good ol’Greek style, but I’ll save that for the next entry. Talk to ya & stay blessed!!

Take hold of life that is truly LIFE! Pt 1 again

For the next few entries I am going to re-post some blog entries. We have been pretty busy in the Buster household and I have not had the study time that I want for the series on Jesus’ healings. By July I should be able to get back on that series but in the mean time I am going re-post the “True Life” series. I really liked this one. Enjoy!


1st Tim 6:19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

This is one awesome script. There is a statement in there that jumps out @ me; “Take hold of life that is truly life.” When I first truly read that bad boy right there it reached out and slapped my right cheek! What a great statement. “Take hold of life that is truly life.” Oh I read that before but it never really hit me like that. When it did my mind instantly went racing on all that this script could mean. I shared it with Kesha, she instantly went on about what is the life we grab hold of and stuff. It just a small sentence but it set our minds ablaze with all that it could mean. The Life part of it and grabbing hold of it. Where has this statement been hiding? Apparently it’s been hiding in 1st Tim all along and I just never grabbed onto it. So now I have to dig in. I said before that I like to type out scripts; it helps me meditate on them. So out comes the big “Mac Daddy 4 Translation” Bible. What I already typed out above is the NIV version but to be fair it’s only part of the whole script. The whole verse 19 states “In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of life that is truly life.” Ol’King James states: “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life”. The Amp states: “In this way laying up for themselves [the riches that endure forever] a good foundation for the future, so that they may grasp that which is life indeed”. The Republican version, ops, I mean the New American Standard: “Storing up for themselves the treasure of good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” And everyone’s favorite, the Message: “If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.”

So what is this script talking about? It’s in the last chapter of the book of 1st Tim. I know, I know. Paul didn’t divide his writings into chapters. What ever! It’s in the last part of his letter to ol’Timmy Boy. There are only 3 sentences following this one before the letter ends. So this is part of Paul’s final charge to Tim. The 1st part of verse 19 says “In this way they will lay up treasures for themselves….” Who are “they” and what “way”? Let’s back up to 1st Tim 6:17 “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain(boy isn’t that true with all that is going on right now), but put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” Let’s move on to verse 18: “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share”. Now verse 19 states “in this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may TAKE HOLD OF LIFE THAT IS TRULY LIFE". So that explains how to grab that LIFE.

This is just the foundation for the next few entries. There is still so much more that I want to explore with this but I want to keep these blogs kind of short. Let that statement “Take Hold of Life that is Truly Life” sets your mind into overdrive today.

Stay blessed, it’s your choice.
jimmy

Give that Man a Hand! Pt. 2 of 2

Pt. 2: Really, Seriously?!

For Part 1 I used Luke’s record. For this one I’m going to give both Matt and Mark’s account; they complement each other quite well.

Matt 12:9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"
11 He said to them, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."
13 Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

Mark 3:1 Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone."
4 Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent.
5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

I’m going straight after the Pharisees on this one. To get the full picture here you have to plug both Matt and Mark’s story into each other. I’ll show you.

1. Jesus goes into the Synagogue ~ Matt 12:9 & Mark 3:1
2. Man with the wrecked hand is in the crowd ~ Matt 12:10 & Mark 3:1
3. They, the Pharisees, are trying to pin something on Jesus, to see if He would heal on the Sabbath. ~ Matt 12:11
4. Jesus pulls the dude with the wrecked hand up to the front and center. ~ Mark 3:3b
5. Jesus asked what is and is not legal to do on the Sabbath. ~ Matt 12:10b -12 & Mark 3:4
6. Jesus gets ticked off (my fave part)!! ~ Mark 3:5
7. Dude stretches his hand ~ Matt 12:13 & Mark 3:5b
8. Pharisees break #6 on the Big Ten Command list ~ Matt 12:14 & Mark 3:6

This story shows just how crazy the Pharisees and the law keepers had become. They literally became blinded by their own legalism and self righteousness. In this story they were waiting to see if Jesus would heal on the Sabbath. If they were waiting to see if Jesus would heal then that meant they recognized that Jesus could heal. Did you catch that? They were admitting that Jesus had the power to heal, yet they were so blinded by their own legalism that they can’t really see what was happening right before them! There is nothing in the Old Testament that states it was wrong to heal on the Sabbath. The “no healing on the Sab” rule was added later because the Rabbis considered healing to be work. The Rabbis adding to the word of God is nothing new; Adam did it at the beginning of Time. God told Adam not to eat of the tree of Knowledge of Good/Evil but Adam told Eve not to even touch the tree*. But Jesus, who was the Word made flesh, brought the Pharisees right back to what the Word of God really says, not what men’s additions say. What Sabbath law Jesus is referring to is found in Exodus 23:4-5 and Deut 22:4**. He is reminding the law keeper what God said was lawful to do on the Sabbath. Here’s the deal: the Pharisees where so caught up in the law that they forgot to open their eyes to God’s promise of the Messiah. They could not recognize the Messiah right in front of them even though they admitted that Jesus had the power to heal. It seems everyone was misreading Jesus. Even Johnny Bapt sent his disciples to ask if Jesus was the Messiah or should they look for another. Jesus answered Johnny’s boys with an account of His actions, the same actions that the Pharisees were witnessing first hand. Here’s how Jesus answered the Baptist’s disciples:

Matt 11:4 “Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.’"

All that Jesus points to is what was promised that the Messiah would do. Isaiah 22:18-21 & 35:5-6 prophesies that the Messiah would do the very actions that Jesus was fulfilling. The Pharisees where witnessing the healings first hand. Seriously, they just watched a man’s wrecked hand stretch out before them. The Pharisees were mad because Jesus was being the promised Messiah on the Sabbath. He wasn’t fitting into their time schedule. How blind do you have to be to get upset with God for being God & His timing?! Hmmm. Have I ever been upset with God’s timing? Boy, that question just hit me like a hard right; how ‘bout you? Yep, suddenly I can’t really judge the Pharisees anymore. The only thing I can do is just repent and let Jesus be my Messiah--no matter what time it is.

Stay blessed y’all, it’s your choice!
jimmy


* Gen 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
Gen 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "

** Exodus 23: 4 "If you come across your enemy's ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to take it back to him. 5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help him with it.
Deut 22: 4 If you see your brother's donkey or his ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it. Help him get it to its feet.

Give that Man a Hand! Pt. 1 of 2

The Faith Factor


I have to admit at first I was not really excited about this story. I mean really, what’s the big deal. Jesus was teaching on the Sabbath, dude with withered hand was placed in front of Him, Jesus heals the dude, and the religious folk got mad. This seems to be a reoccurring theme. I’m sure the guy with the healed hand thought it was a big deal but for me, at first, I thought maybe this story could have been passed over. After studying it a bit I’m glad the writers nor the H.Sp. agreed with me. There is some good stuff here. Let’s get digging.

This story is found in 3 of the Gospels: Matt 12:9-14, Mark 3:1-6, Lk 6:6-11. For this entry we’re going with the good Dr. Luke.

Luke 6:6 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 8 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Get up and stand in front of everyone." So he got up and stood there.
9 Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?"
10 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He did so, and his hand was completely restored. 11 But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.


After reading over this story several times what stands out to me is the action of faith taken. Not the action taken by Jesus but by this guy with the withered hand. Dr. Luke made sure we knew which hand was withered; it was the right hand. This is significant because most people in this world are right handed and it’s likely this guy had lost his livelihood because of the lack of use of that hand. But here he is standing in the middle of a showdown. Will Jesus heal or not heal on the Sabbath? I have a question for you to think about: who on this Sabbath day did more work, Jesus or the man with the withered hand? The only thing that Jesus did was to command this guy to stretch out his hand. It was the guy that had to follow the command. Jesus didn't walk over and yank the guy’s hand into shape. Luke records that Jesus only said “Stretch out your hand” and the guy did all the work. Here’s the faith factor of this story: the man simply did what Jesus said to do. James 2:20 says that faith without works is dead. What if he did not do what Jesus said? What if he didn’t stretch out his hand? What if the guy yelled at Jesus and said “Are you crazy? My hand is withered!” I guess he would have left that synagogue with the same bum hand that he came in with. What Jesus said to do was something that this man could not do before this Sabbath. We don’t know how long his hand had been withered; none of the 3 gospels tells us how long he had been in this condition. All that we know is that he showed up at the synagogue with a wrecked hand, and when he left he had a fully functional right hand; and it’s not because Jesus grabbed his hand and yanked it into shape but because he followed through on what Jesus simply said to do. Is that why some of us are still waiting on our healing--because we’re waiting on Jesus to come yank and shape our withered hands – or whatever part of our body is in need of healing?

In another healing in the gospels we see Jesus making mud for blind eyes* but here is a medical revelation, there is no vital healing power in mud. As-a-matter-of-fact, mud only blocks your vision, it doesn’t help.

If you are waiting on your healing then it may be time to start acting on what you could not previously do. Sometime I want to preach in a service and at the end have all those who need healing to come up and praise and dance and pretend like their in Heaven, for in Heaven there will be no sickness or pain. Ah forget that, don’t wait for the service - If you need healing and you believe 1st Peter 2:24, then do this: turn on some worship music (good worship music ~ not stuff that blames God for sickness or pain) and pretend like you are worshipping before the thrown – I mean literally before the thrown. In heaven we won’t need wheelchairs, crutches, or even band-aids. Just go after it and see your healing come through. After all Jesus said to pray for God’s will to be done here on earth as it is being done right now in heaven. Now don't go crazy with your dancing and get hurt; let your actions fit with your level of faith. In other words, if all you can do is tap your foot, then tap your foot praising God for your complete healing (and etc., etc.). So with all that, it’s time to stretch something. Have fun worshiping!

We’ll leave it right there for now.

Stay blessed y’all, it’s your choice.
jimmy



*John 9:6 Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes.

Poolside Manners Pt 2 of 2

What??? Yep, that’s the title. Read on and you may say “What???” at first too.

A little over 2 years ago my wife got me an IPod Shuffle for my b-day. It was a great gift. We had always wanted to get this audible Bible program called the Bible Experience (B.E.) and now that we had ITunes we started downloading a book of the Bible each month. It’s such a great Bible program. B.E. is a theatrical reading of the Scriptures; it’s read by some of best actors in the world. The first book we downloaded was John’s Gospel. One day as I was listening to the Book of John I heard something that made me say “What???” Let’s read the text, and then I will explain.

John 5:1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"
7 "Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
8 Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat."
11 But he replied, "The man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.' "
12 So they asked him, "Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?"
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Soooo, what made me say “What???” Look at verse 14: “Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him,'See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.'" What??? If you read my Roof Rippers series then you may remember in Pt.2 I went over why Jesus forgave the paralytic before healing him. But why in this story does Jesus tell this guy to stop sinning after the healing? This guy had been sick for 38 years, what sin could he had been committing? I mean really, he couldn’t even drag himself into the pool in time when the water rippled. Well, all sin starts in the heart/mind. Proverbs 6:15-19 lists the seven things that absolutely disgust God and only one is an outside action. The first of the seven is pride and I don’t think this guy could have had too much pride after sitting for so long waiting on his healing. John never tells us the sin/sins this guy was committing, but that’s not the point this story. Many people use this story to say that somehow it’s not God’s will for all to be healed. That is not true. You can see several places in the Gospels where Jesus healed multitudes. There were just so many healings that the writers lost count and just simply wrote “and healed all the sick.” Example: Matt 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick." On top of that, if it’s not God’s will for all to be healed then it’s not God’s will for all to be saved. That would go against scripture---perhaps the most famous scripture John 3:16. Look, both salvation and healing were taken care of at the cross. Isaiah 53:3-5 includes healing within the salvation experience.

So What, I mean, why was this story recorded for us to read? I believe there are 2 reasons: 1st: To remind us to show the same kind of compassion that Jesus displayed. You can go back and read part 1 of this study for a more detailed explanation. (http://bustedthought.blogspot.com/2010/03/poolside-manners-pt-1-of-2.html) 2nd: Healing is not a reason to keep on sinning. That sounds strange at first but I’ll explain.
Years ago, in the late 80’s, I remember hearing this one sad story. Back then HIV and AIDS were starting to make the scene. There was a young man who, well, um, was just living a very loose life and as a result he had contracted HIV and developed AIDS. He went to be prayed for and was totally healed. But instead of changing his prior lifestyle he jumped straight back into that loose life. He contracted HIV again which lead back to AIDS. He eventually died in misery caused by the sickness. Now that story is a bit extreme but really we all somehow commit the same kind of offences. Look, if you have not died yet and gone on to eternity, if you are reading this right now then you are still in your unredeemed body. If you are in heaven reading this then, WOW, my blog made it to heaven. Yes, God’s healing touch is always present but we have to do our part. Healing is not an excuse to just live however we desire. As long as we’re in our earthly bodies we will deal with colds to cancer. I’m not meaning to say you’ll get cancer; but just like sin is always present in this earth so is sickness. If you have cancer and you’re believing for healing, well, you should probably stop taking in sugar. I’m not a doctor, but as far as I understand, cancer feeds on sugar. I’m not calling sugar evil and I am not saying sugar causes cancer. It’s in my coffee right now, sugar that is. We should all take the necessary stop to help get ourselves well again. If you got a cold, well, what caused that cold? Was it a lack of sleep? Then get to bed. God has given us wisdom; it’s time to walk in it. I believe a lot of times there is a natural answer/solution to our sickness. YES God’s healing touch is present, but just like we don’t keep sinning so we can experience God’s forgiveness we shouldn’t live unhealthy just to experience healing.

Testimony time:
Some may not agree with this but oh well. One Sunday morning at church I was in a prayer line praying for people. One person came up to me requesting prayer for healing from Type 2 diabetes. I told this person I would pray for them but they needed to change some lifestyle choices. Type 2 diabetes can be totally reversible through diet and exercise. Some may not agree with that prayer technique and I’m cool with that; but if you’re in my prayer line know that I am going to ask for wisdom on what it causing your problem so that it doesn’t repeat. That’s kind of along the same lines as what Jesus did at the poolside.

Stay Blessed y’all, it’s your choice.
jimmy

Poolside Manners’ Pt. 1 of 2

Are we right, or are we right beside the pool?

The 6th Chronological healing recorded in the Gospels marks the beginning of the 2nd year of Jesus’ ministry. Healing #6 is what my NIV study Bible calls “The Healing at the Pool.” John’s Gospel is the only of the 4 to record it. John only recorded a few of the healing that Jesus performed so we better queue in.

John 5:1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"
7 "Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
8 Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat."
11 But he replied, "The man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.' "
12 So they asked him, "Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?"
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Just a quick note of interest: you may have noticed that there is no verse 4. I almost always use the NIV; it’s just easier to read and it’s rumored to be better translated from the original text. The NIV left verse 4 out because it’s translators felt that verse 4 was inserted by a later copyist to explain why people waited by the pool. Most other versions do go with verse 4, well except for the Message which didn’t really break up any of the verses by a numeral indicator. One commentator on this subject stated that “verses 3 and 7 could not be properly understood without verse 4. Also, at the excavation site of the pool of Bethesda, archaeologists found a faded fresco on the wall depicting an angel and water.” Anyway enough wasting time; let’s get to the meat of the story.

In this story we have 3 types of people, you decide which group you fall into. The first group is those in need of healing (i.e., the sick). Second we have the rule enforcers; they are right in what they say but they’re missing the real issue. Third we have the one who has phenomenal poolside manners. We’ll look at all 3.

The 1st Group: The Sick
John 5:3 said a great number of disabled people hung out at this pool. The AMP Bible put it this way: “In these lay a great number of sick folk--some blind, some crippled, and some paralyzed (shriveled up)--waiting for the bubbling up of the water.” You can say this pool was a hospital of sorts. All of these people were poolside waiting desperately for their healing. In Verse 5 we find the main subject of this story. We don’t know how old the man was at this time of the story, but we do know that he was sick for 38 years. Again, the AMP Bible says in verse 5 that this guy “had suffered with a deep-seated and lingering disorder for thirty-eight years.” How do you properly and Christian-ly say: That Sucks! Thirty-eight years is a long time to be in that condition. Do you realize that this guy had been sick longer than Jesus had been alive? Jesus was probably 31 by now. I am sure this sick guy tried everything to get well and this pool was his last hope. This pool was either people’s shortcut or last hope to health. Because of the way verse 7 reads, I believe it was this guy’s last hope. He’s desperately miserable.
We’ll leave that group right there; on to the next.

The 2nd Group: The Rule Enforcers
We don’t know how long he, the sick guy, had been poolside by the time of his healing but from reading into this story I think it’s safe to assume that the rule enforcers had no idea how long either. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe they knew who he was. Here, let’s read verse 10: “and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, ‘It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.’” If they knew this guy and his prior condition then they would have cared less about the law and rejoiced at the fact that he was even able to carry the mat while walking around. I don’t think the rule enforcers ever hung out poolside. It’s not like the pool was far away from where they were at. The guy just got his legs back under him; he would not have got far from the pool. What they were saying was not wrong, the guy was carrying around his mat on the Sabbath; but maybe, just maybe if they opened their eyes they would have noticed the miracle walking before them. They, the rule enforcers, were so worried about the rules that they forgot about visiting the sick, the hospital.
We’re done with that group.


The 3rd Group: The Healer

Now, look at who was poolside. John 5:6; using the AMP again: “When Jesus noticed him lying there [helpless], knowing that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, Do you want to become well? [Are you really in earnest about getting well?]” Jesus had to be poolside to see this guy. On top of that, Jesus knew that he had been sick for a long time. I bet this was not the first time for Jesus to be poolside. At this time Jesus would have been about 31 or32. I wonder how many times on the way to these Jewish festivals Jesus passed by this pool. Luke 2:39 states that Jesus’ parents moved to Nazareth, but in Luke 2:42 it picks up the story of Jesus at the age of 12. If Jesus made the trip from Nazareth to Jerusalem just once every year from the age 12 until He was 31 then that would have been 20 trips. Nazareth was to the North of Jerusalem and the pool of Bethesda was a little to the north of the temple. That means Jesus would have passed this pool about 20 times, if my calculations and geography are correct. There were 3 pilgrimage feasts that all Jewish males were expected to make - Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. If He made the 3 required pilgrimages every year from age 13 to 31 then that would be a potential 57 times that Jesus passed by this pool; and I am only counting the trips to the temple. I mean I am not including the trips back from the temple. So that bumps up the number to 114 times that Jesus could have walked by this pool. I think that over the years He would start to recognize a few people’s faces. In all of Jesus’ travels of back and forth, before His ministry started, I wonder if He longed for the day when His healing touch would begin and He could empty the poolside. Did He notice this guy laying there before His ministry started? Sure there would be new faces at the poolside all the time, but Jesus would start to recognize the faces that were always there. We do know from John’s account that Jesus noticed this guy and knew he had been sick for awhile. Like I said before, this dude was sick longer than Jesus had been alive. So, whether this was Jesus 115th time of walking by the pool or just his first, he still knew this guys condition and did not leave him the same as when he found him. Jesus completes the Healer group.

So, which group do we fit into: the sick, the rule enforcer, or the healer? When I started this study of the healings of Jesus, I wanted to get a better understanding of faith and how it works-- specifically towards the need for health/healing. As I continue this study I find these stories have so much more to do with living the life than just about healing. The healings in these stories are like a fine tasting frosting on top of an already yummy cupcake. . . But back to the question that started this paragraph. Which group do we fit into? If we fit into the sick group then we need to keep studying the word, reach out in faith, and never give up hope. Remember that Jesus, during His earthly ministry, never left anyone sick who wanted to be healed. If we fit into the rule enforcing group then it’s time for us to open our eyes and behold the opportunities for miracles that are right next door to us. If we fit into the last part, the healer, then it’s time to find some poolsides. You might say only Jesus fits into the healer group. Well that’s true sort-of; but Jesus told us in His Great Commission to Go Preach the Gospel, Signs & Wonders will follow, Don’t walk in Fear, and Lay hands on the sick and the sick will get…. What? I can’t hear you, what is the final part of the Great Commission? “The Sick will get well!” Mark 16:18. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go do some poolside struttin’.

Stay blessed y’all, it your choice.
jimmy

The Roof Rippers!! Pt. 3 of 3

Catchin’ Jesus Attention.
I was just going to do 2 installments on “the Roof Rippers!!” but I can’t skip this major point. Before we move forward we better read the story again. In Roof Rippers pt.1 I went with Luke’s account. In Roof Rippers pt. 2 I covered Mark’s story. It’s time to go with Matt’s record.

Matt 9:2 Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." 3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, "This fellow is blaspheming!" 4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home." 7 And the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.

When I was in youth, I remember hearing messages about “For the eyes of the LORD roam throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” That statement is pulled from the first half of 2nd Chronicles 16:9. It’s funny that I don’t remember hearing the 2nd part of that verse in youth group. It states: “You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war." Looking back it may have done me better to hear the 2nd part more than the 1st part of 2nd Chron 16:9. But the point of the messages I heard in my youth was to spark something within me, to make me rise up and be noticed by God. Here in Matthew chapter 9 we see Jesus taking notice of some individuals. Look at Matt 9:2 “Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’” All the translations that are my go-to’s pretty much translate the statement “Jesus saw their faith” the same; but the Message did give this scripture a good twist. The Messages Bible states the phrase in Matt 9:2 this way: “Jesus, impressed by their bold belief”. This is actually pretty close to what the original Greek stated. The Greek word used in Matt 9:2 for “saw” is “eidon.” It does mean to literally see, but in Matt 9:2 is has more of a metaphorical meaning as in: spoken of the mind meaning to perceive by the senses, to be aware of, to remark. The same Greek word “eidon” is used in Romans 11:22 when it says “Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God.” Eidon is translated to the word “consider.” Back to Matt 9:2, Jesus saw/considered their faith. Something caught Jesus eyes; something caught His attention. What was it that caught Jesus attention? Was it the faulty roof that just opened above Him? Was it the dust and rubble from the roof that was falling all over Him as He taught? Was it a dude being lowered down to His feet? No, it wasn’t any of those distractions. What made Jesus take notice was the 4+ friends’ faith. Matt 9:2 states “when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic…” It was their faith that made Creature/Savior of the world stop mid-sentence of what I am sure of was an earth shattering message and take notice. I really never thought of this before, but do you realize that these 4+ friends committed a crime in trying to get their friend to Jesus? Think about it, this is truly breaking and entering. They broke somebody’s roof. I am positive that the house Jesus was speaking in was not one of theirs. If the house was one of theirs then that person would have spoken up and said: “hey, stop breaking the roof. It’s my house; we can just kick everyone out and talk to Jesus.” I wonder what the owner of the house was thinking as he watched his ceiling open up. I’m sure it was some serious damage. This could not have been a weak roof. It had to support at least 5 people. James 2:17 famously says “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” These guys did not have dead faith! It took work to bust through that ceiling. On top of that, they really had to trust the roof because by busting a hole in it they compromised the integrity of that roof. Roof Busting Faith: that will catch Jesus attention every time. I want some Roof Busting Faith, don’t you? The truth is I/we have it, if we call on Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Jesus, as recorded in Luke 17:6* and Matt 17:20*, said that just a small amount of faith can move some serious stuff. Romans 12:3 says: “in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” From Romans 12:3 some theologians debate whether God gives some Christians more faith than others or if He gives all the same measure. Really, it doesn’t matter because according to Jesus’ teaching we just need a small amount to do great things. These 4+ guys moved something. They moved a roof to get their buddy healed. I think it is time for today’s church to practice its’ Roof Rippin’ skills. It’s time to move some thangs. Yep, I used the word thangs.

This healing miracle is the last of Jesus first year of ministry. Or you can say this is the last of His first Passover year. WOW! What a 1st year! From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. The highest would be people flocking to Him for his teaching and healing touch. The lowest would be His own home town trying to kill Him. Jesus 2nd year of ministry promises to be even more exciting.

Stay blessed y’all, it’s your choice.
jimmy

*Luke 17:6 He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.
*Matthew 17:20 He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

The Roof Rippers!! Pt. 2 of 3

Roof Rippin' kind of Friends

This is an awesome story. I am glad this one--out of the countless number of healings Jesus did--was selected to be recorded. For this entry we’re going to refer to Mark’s record.

Mark 2:3-12 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . ." He said to the paralytic, 11 "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"

The reason I went with Mark’s record for this entry is because he gives us an idea of how many men were this guy’s friends. Both Matt and Luke tell us that “some men” brought the paralytic, but only Mark tells us that it was four of them that carried him. I never really thought that it could have been more than four guys that accompanied this dude to Jesus’ meeting. But now that I really, really look at this story I see that it must have been more than four guys that were there for their buddy. Look at Mark 2:3 again: “Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.” Interesting! At least it’s interesting to me. I went to the Greek so I could get a better understanding of how many men there were. I looked up what “Some men came” was in the original text. It did not give me a number but rather something different, something that is already found on the surface of this story. Now the Greek word for “some men” in Mark 2:3 was not a particularly moving word. What Mark originally wrote was the Greek word “erchomai” and its meaning is exactly what was translated. But what was used in Matt 9:2 is awesome. Matt used the word “prospherĊ” and it means “to bring to, lead one to a person who can heal him or is ready to show him some kindness, one to a person who is to judge him.” Maybe I should have gone with Matt’s story. Nonetheless, that brings me to my next point. As I meditate about the paralytic’s friends it reminds me of what James said in his epistle. In James 5:19-20 it states: “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” Sorry sisters, you are left out; kidding, it’s just the translation. Here is the Message version of James 5:19-20: “My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God's truth, don't write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.” This Gospel story of the Paralytic and his boys is a perfect example of what James is talking about. They, the 4+ or however many, brought the paralytic to Jesus’ feet; Jesus forgave him and then healed him. This dude must have had some sins in his life that needed to be dealt with. Notice that Jesus did not say sin, singular which in the New Testament represents the flesh nature; Jesus said sins. I wondered if the sins may have caused him to be paralyzed. Maybe that is why Jesus forgave him of the sins first. I went digging into the Greek to see if there might be some kind of indication of what made this guy sick. I really didn’t find anything. I went to one of my favorite commentators and his note really didn’t give more on what sins may have caused this sickness. I went to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words and found this: “being enfeebled by a paralytic stroke, palsied.” So it seems to be this guy could be paralyzed because of a stroke. Well there are all sorts of things that can cause a stroke. Strokes usually seem to be less common in younger people and I don’t know why but I always imagined this guy to be young. . .

Going back to what one of my favorite commentators stated--that commentator is Andrew Wommack by the way. In his note for Matt 9:2 Andrew stated the following: “Why did Jesus minister forgiveness of sins to this man instead of to the obvious need he had of healing? Probable reasons for this would include: (1) God is more concerned with the spiritual health of a man than his physical health (1 Sam. 16:7; Mt. 5:29-30). (2) Jesus, through a word of knowledge (1 Cor. 12:8), may have perceived that the real heart-cry of this man was to be reconciled to God.” That really hit home with me. In my entry “Peter’s Ma-in-law pt.1” I talked about pulling back and looking at the whole picture. I like details but, at times, I get lost in them and I forget the big picture. So I’m going to pull back in this entry and look at the whole picture. It was pretty obvious that this guy was sick but Jesus first words to him were "Son, your sins are forgiven." By saying this Jesus did heal this dude, but Jesus healed his inside first. Before this guy received his physical healing Jesus dealt with his spiritual sickness. This caused the Pharisees to go into a holy uproar, but Jesus didn’t care about the religious crowd. What was more important to Jesus was guy’s spiritual condition instead of putting on a show for the crowd. Jesus cares more about our spiritual health than about our physical health. Really what good is it to go to hell healthy? If you need scripture to back that up then look at Jesus’ teaching on “causing to sin.” It’s found in Mark 9:42-50. Also you can reference Jesus teaching on adultery found in Matt 5:27-30. The end of Matt 5:30 states “It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” It’s not that Jesus doesn’t care about our health, if He didn’t care then His body would never had been broken at the crucifixion. The bigger picture is that He wants us healthy on our insides first, then he’ll work on the outside. Earlier I talked about James 5:19-20. I'll quote it again for you to see: “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” The 4+ friends are a perfect example of what James 5:19-20 is talking about. Notice in the story Jesus never says what this guy’s sins were. He didn’t openly judge this guy by listing the sins out, He just forgave the paralytic. I imagine the 4+ friends may have had an idea of the sins this dude committed, but they didn’t yell from the roof what the sins were. Instead what those 4+ friends and Jesus did was “save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”

Whenever I read/hear this story I think to myself that I want to be a friend like that. I want to do whatever it takes to get my friends to Jesus feet for that forgiving/healing touch.

I was originally going to do 2 entries on this subject but I can’t skip mentioning the faith that caught Jesus' attention. Part 3 of the Roof Rippers will be here in a week.

Stay blessed y’all, it’s your choice.
jimmy

The Roof Rippers!! Pt. 1 of 3

Always Present.

Crazy title, right? I’m pretty proud of it. It makes me think of an old party anthem. “The Roof, The Roof, The Roof is on fire…” I won’t go on with that because this entry may become un-redeemed. The fifth chronological healing in the Gospels is about 4 (or more) friends who ripped a roof open to get their buddy access to Jesus’ healing touch. You may remember the story from children’s church - if you went to CC. This story is found in Matt 9:2-8, Mark 2:3-12, and Luke 5:17-26. All three do a great job covering the story, but Dr. Luke gave a little extra info in his record; that’s why we’re covering his first.

Luke 5:17 One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."
21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, "Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, "Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." He said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, "We have seen remarkable things today."

Amazing story! Talk about true friends with some crazy faith. I want to be a friend like that. Oops, let me back up; that subject is for “The Roof Rippers!! Pt. 2 of 3” What I want to cover in this entry has to do with something else. It’s something that I talked about in “The Leper Pt. 1 of 2.” It is the subject of “is it God’s will to heal?”. I said earlier in this entry that Dr. Luke gave a little extra info in his record; that is found in Luke 5:17. Here’s what it says: “And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.” But who were the sick that were there to be healed? Let’s look back at the beginning part of verse 17: “Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there.” Looks to me that Jesus’ healing touch was there for those in attendance, and those who were in attendance were the Pharisees and teachers of the law. Check out how the Amplified Bible puts verse 17 “One of those days, as He was teaching, there were Pharisees and teachers of the Law sitting by, who had come from every village and town of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was [present] with Him to heal them.” I am no English Major but I believe it would be safe to assume that “them” is speaking of the Pharisees and teachers of the law. The very ones who would in just a few years later stir up a crowd to yell “Crucify Him” (Matt 27:20). Those in the crowd that day must have needed healing because verse 17 says that the Jesus healing power was there to heal them. “Them” represents multiple people but in this story we have on record only one being healed - just one. The person that was healed doesn’t appear to be a Pharisees or a teacher of the law. As matter of fact he seems to be just a run-of-the-mill sinner. I come to that conclusion because Jesus forgave him first before healing him. This dude must have needed his life straightened out before his body was straightened out. But what about the Pharisees and teachers, did any of them get healed? I don’t believe so because the only recorded healing in this story is the sinner lowered to Jesus feet. Instead of receiving the healing they needed, the Pharisees and teachers of the law only got doubt and unbelief. Look at verse 21: “The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, ‘Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’” “Them” missed out on what they needed because of their own unbelief. We have another example of doubt and unbelief blocking the power to heal; it’s found in Mark 6:5 & 6. It states “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.”

So is it God’s will to heal or is it our will to not be healed? We see here in Luke 5:17-26 that Jesus was willing and able to heal the very ones who would soon crucify him, but only one person was on record of being set free. We also see in Mark 6 that it was a lack of faith that hindered Jesus from doing miracles in His own hometown. Is our faith, or lack of faith hindering us from Jesus’ healing touch?

You know what I notice Luke never said in his story? Luke never states that the power to heal left that meeting even after the Pharisees and teachers started questioning Jesus authority. It was still present for them to be healed. A matter of fact, in the whole New Testament it never says that that His healing power has ever left us either. In Mark 16:17-18 Jesus states “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name…they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." That means, since I believe, the same power that was present to heal the Pharisees and teachers of the law is right here in my living room as I work on this blog. That also means, if you believe, the same power that was present to heal the Pharisees and teachers of the law is right there with you as you read this blog. That’s some seriously good news.

Stay blessed y’all, it your choice.
Jimmy.