Jesus left a crowd of people where He was appreciated and valued so He could help a raving lunatic. In Mark 5:1-20, we read about a man who was completely undone and thoroughly tormented by loads of demons. He was demon possessed and was living a very tortured, painful and isolated life. When he was described in these verses, I was deeply moved by his tragic existence. He would roam the tombs & mountains with no human contact, gashing himself, screaming and unclothed with no hope of reprieve or help – until Jesus came.
When we come across people in our lives who are broken, hurting, dysfunctional, crazy, hostile, erratic and even barbaric, let’s be willing to see past these descriptions and difficulties to see a human in need of love and redemption. Let’s remember that the enemy of humanity is seeking to torture, deceive and destroy humans in any way possible. On the other side, Jesus wants to work through us to bring love, healing and redemption! Let’s make sure we stay on Jesus’ side 🙂
Do you ever think about your thoughts? Or the motivations for things that you do? It seems to me that the thought processes, feelings, motivations and our internal mindsets have massive affects on our choices, conversations, attitudes and actions. So if our thinking or emotions have been poisoned by the enemy (who comes to steal, kill & destroy), then it makes sense that the behaviors, conversations etc can be dysfunctional & corrupt.
Here’s a good example: have you met people who have a chip on their shoulder, or think that nobody likes them or maybe they’ve been victimized & carry that mindset throughout their daily living? There’s probably good reasons behind why they behave the way that they do. But let’s remember this truth: we have a free will to make different choices.
So here are a few things for consideration:
Take a pause & reflect: why am I doing / saying this?
Is my behavior / conversation / attitude coming from a place of brokenness or distortion?
Welcome the Holy Spirit into the places where you sense such brokenness & distortion / deception
Let the Holy Spirit help you make different choices – Romans 8:26 🙂
Lots of times we think of healing in the terms of physical expressions, such as healing from cancer, scoliosis, ulcers, blind eyes, etc. While I’m wholly supportive of physical healing, I also thoroughly believe that we need God’s healing power to affect the entirety of our lives & not just our bodies.
For example, there are plenty of biblical characters who needed God’s healing touch in their thoughts & points of view. People such as Pharaoh who hardened his heart, Lot who chose the well-watered plains of Sodom & Gomorrah, as well as both Saul’s (OT & NT) are all people who needed God’s healing power to change their thinking & points of view.
I would also suggest that there are not just a few of us who need God’s healing power to touch our emotions. Places in our emotions that are controlled or dominated by excessive fear, grief, depression, etc are all opportunities for God’s healing power to redeem & renovate!
Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to heal not only our bodies, but all of us including our thoughts & emotions!
My husband was hospitalized several weeks ago for a stroke. This very alarming experience was something I’d prefer to keep on my un-bucket list. Nonetheless, I was intensely challenged to keep my eyes on Jesus during this crisis. Thankfully, it wasn’t difficult to see Jesus.
It seems to me that Jesus is not just willing to help in a crisis but more so, eager. In that experience, i found that I wasn’t strong, wise nor independent enough to hold it all together. But Jesus is. Learning to be weak & vulnerable with Jesus is helping me to grow closer & see Jesus more readily than I have in the past.
Jesus does ICU 🙂
Presently I’m in Cambodia & this morning I was meandering around one of the neighborhoods where we provide nightcare with Saving Moses. This is always a tough neighborhood for me because of the immensity of the needs I see & feel. But it’s also a warm place for me because of the people I recognize every time, their kindness & warm acceptance. So this morning I was in this neighborhood and kind of taking in everything again. As I looked down one of the alleyways, I saw a small women & waved at her. She smiled quietly back at me. I felt drawn to her, so I walked closer & greeted her in my limited Khmer language. She was warm but respectful so I kept walking closer until I was standing just outside the opening of the space of her home. She was friendly but not overly welcoming. I peaked my head around the corner & observed a woman trying to get herself into sitting position. I could immediately tell that there was a significant physical ailment by the degree of struggle this women undertook to sit up. No joke, it took her between 2-3min to get herself upright. I kept watching to figure out what was going on with her. Her belly was really distended, so initially I thought she was pregnant, but dismissed this immediately because this was something different. She opened her shirt at her belly, revealing a swollen stomach like I’ve never seen, ever. I forced myself to not pull back from shock & tried to process what was wrong. Because I was by myself there was no help for me with any conversation, so I just stood there for what seemed a long time, unsure what to do. As I got my bearings, I felt in my heart that I was to pray for her and that was extremely helpful because I wasn’t just a helpless spectator to her pain & struggle. I stepped into the room and asked if I could pray (by that time, my translator friend came to help me). I began praying for her & also listening in my heart on how / what to pray. Of course I wanted to see some immediate evidence of healing & she did express that the pain she was experiencing was diminishing. I’ll go back tomorrow & check on her.
Seeing things that are atrocious can shock is into freeze mode or we can look to the Holy Spirit to help us be vessels for healing & divine love. Let’s chose love rather than be repelled by sickness & disease!
This morning I read in Luke about a blind guy who was yelling for Jesus. After the blind guy was persistent, Jesus stopped & asked him what he wanted. Of course Jesus knew that the guy was blind, but He waited for the man to express what he wanted.
This has started me thinking about what I want & this truth: if I get what I want from Jesus, I will need to change my behavior. This is often a bigger deal than what we realize. Being healed means that we must act differently. We can’t be healed & continue to behave in the same dysfunctional & broken routines.
Being healed means that we live more wholly & make choices that are healthy & life giving – and this takes courage. Not only do I want to be well, but I also want the courage to live well.
This morning I read about how the Jewish leaders were mad at Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. Whenever I read these kinds of exchanges between Jesus & these religious leaders it always twists my stomach & I’m repulsed by their petty & nauseating posturing.
Doing good shouldn’t be relegated for certain days or religious traditions. Doing good should be infused into our redeemed DNA. I want my first reaction when I see someone broken & needy not to be grounded in religious piety but rather rooted in genuine love: instinctually consoling & improving – with divine Help & my own resources & abilities.
This is a blog to honor my friend Kim, with whom I had an awesome chat last night. Kim is an entirely amazing person, nurse, mom, wife, COO & all around very groovy chick. We were chatting about a few ailments & she said something really insightful, “Sometimes healing hurts.” To which I immediately replied, “blech”. But she’s right.
Healing can hurt sometimes:
*healing in our bodies causes us to use muscles & functions that have been broken
*healing in our emotions can require us to correct & untwist dysfunctional mindsets & behaviors
*healing in our hearts causes us to walk in uncomfortable dependence on the Lover of our hearts
Let the healing process move forward with wholehearted engagement 🙂
Yesterday I had some work done on my shoulder to repair damage from a snowboarding accident & today I’m trying out the power of Vicodin. I’m not really a pain pill person & I could probably count on one hand how many Advil I take in any given year, so needless to say, this stuff is a brave new world. Combined with the Vicodin adventure, I just read a blog that seemed to be a little overdosed with metaphors (note to self: I’m very guilty of overdosing my blogs with metaphors).
Pain seems to make metaphors evaporate or possibly turn into frightening fantasies if drugs are involved. With all that being said, I’m super grateful that Jesus came in the flesh to more than medicate the pain of humanity. Jesus came to:
*carry our grief
*remove our pain
*forgive our shortcomings
*replace our weaknesses with His strength
*give us another Helper
*raise us from dead living to eternal life
*heal our brokenness
*cure the human condition
And so much more – way better than Vicodin & metaphors ,)
I’ve just been in Cambodia with Saving Moses & heard this extremely powerful testimony that will be super encouraging. A mom who was coming out of the prostitution industry had contracted gonerea (or however you spell it) & became pregnant. Instead of delivering her baby by c-section to protect him from the gonerea, she delivered him normally. From the birthing process, he also caught the disease in his eyes, for which there’s no cure in Cambodia. The prognosis for this baby boy was that he would be blind & the disease would likely spread to his brain with severe consequences. My friend went to pray healing for this little boy & over the course of time, he is totally healed, can see normally & is developing at a normal & healthy rate without any health concerns – how cool is that?!?!!!
I love that God is our healer, including healing for the babies of prostitutes. No one is too small, insignificant nor trivial for God to touch, heal & transform 🙂
I hear and see lots of situations that need miracles – including stuff in my own life. I was talking with God about this whole topic of needing miracles yesterday and I was expressing some of my own needs in my prayers. It was an interesting time of prayer because I had the distinct impression that God is alwaysdoing miracles, even when we’re unaware. Some of God’s miracles are small & we can easily overlook them because of the busy-ness and demands of everyday living. Some of God’s miracles are camouflaged and aren’t as obvious because they’re not very dramatic. Some of God’s miracles are so big that we altogether miss the experience because we can be so easily focused on something that’s relatively minor. And sometimes we miss God’s miracles because we get too focused on our methods rather than leaving the method stuff in God’s hands. So God is always doing miracles because that’s Who God is – miraculous!
Here are some miracles to consider:
strength to go through a difficult season
wisdom in areas where we are totally inept
provisions that come in unexpected ways
healing from bitterness, hurts, unforgiveness, etc
nautre – sunrises, sunsets, ocean tides, the immensity of the universe and the minuteness of a quark
There was a woman in Jesus life whom He treated gruffly, He even called her a “dog”, which isn’t quite in the realm of chivalrous behavior. Here’s what was happening: this chick was harassing Jesus’ disciples because she wanted Him to come & heal her daughter but Jesus was ignoring her. When His disciples got fed up with her efforts, they asked Jesus to do something, to which He replied to His disciples that He wasn’t called to help dogs, i.e. this woman. What a slap in the face! He ignores her & then insults her! I know lots of people, myself included, who would sulk away insulted by this kind of treatment. But this chick held on & wasn’t deflected by how Jesus treated her. Her faith was stronger than her feelings & the goal (her daughter getting healed) was the main goal. Lets learn some great lessons from this chick that our faith stays stronger than our feelings & that we keep our eyes steady on the goals that conform to Jesus’ will 🙂
There are all different kinds of pain: a broken arm, a sunburn, rejection, aggressive words, neglectful behavior, perceived exclusion, disappointment, grief, . . . . . When we are in pain or have pain in our lives we don’t like it, not one bit. But in my mind, a significant challenge with pain is not that we have pain, but rather what we do with it & even how we manage it (rather than letting it manage us). Here are a few bullet thoughts that might merit some consideration:
*forgiveness can interrupt the continual cycle of pain in our relationships
*when we have pain, it’s important that we don’t perpetuate our pain by hurting others
*Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, He is our ultimate Healer
*we must be vigilent to ensure that pain doesn’t become our identity – a painful person
*focus is an important component with pain – it seems to me that the more we focus on the hurt, the worse it gets
*on the flip side, I’ve discovered that when I keep my focus on Jesus, The Healer, the pain decreases in the light of His majesty
May we experience Jesus as our ultimate Healer for every pain in our lives 🙂
I recently slipped in our big snow storm and hurt my ankle and no, I’m not any good at injuries of any sort. My norm is just to ignore them & keep going – no time to be gimpy! Unfortunately, this little ankle thing isn’t responding well to being ignored.
I think the same can be true with us spiritually. Sometimes there are injuries in our hearts that require some attention. Here a few ideas that could help:
ice: it cuts back on the swelling and the agitation; when our hearts are hurt, it’s helpful to cool down before making any decisions or having some conversations (cooling down doesn’t mean simmering to re-load ammunition or nit picking to fester the injury more)
elevation: lifting up our hearts to the Holy Spirit gives space and opportunity for divine involvement, where there is always healing, repair and rejuvenation
rest: sometimes we need to give our hearts a chance to recover and “breath”; heart trauma or injury often requires some time and processing to get to a place where there can be constructive progress (just be careful that rest doesn’t turn into withdrawal)
i called a friend a few days ago to talk w her about what God had been speaking w me about in my morning prayer time. i was so thoroughly rocked that i started crying as i talked w her & if you know me at all, crying isn’t part of the normal operating routine. crying was an outward expression of total amazement at the sense of God’s presence w me in the car at that time, as i tried to share the amazing things God was speaking w me about. these last few days have been extremely powerful for me on a deeply personal level. i’m sensing God dealing w me about things that have been difficult for me for a very long time . . . & i feel God walking and talking w me deeply, clearly and with healing.
This kind of reminds me of an experience i had w God when i was 14 at a summer church camp – i came home w such an intense awareness of God that i sensed Him throughout my entire summer before high school. My experience over the last few days has been similar & even now as i write, i feel His presence. i pray that your needs, questions, unknowns, etc serve as paths to a greater interface w God in your daily living, in an ongoing way.
i’m eager to watch God over the next few weeks, as I begin a series on Wed nights related to fasting & Jesus’ words on fasting in the Sermon on the Mount – come if you can, but at least check out the blogs & feedback from a few days ago about the experience of fasting from lots of different people (their insights, suggestions, frustrations, experiences, etc).