Faith Pursues

If you’ve heard me teach for very long, you have heard me talk about “the woman with the issue of blood.” She’s one of my favorite people in the Bible, and an incredible inspiration to many.

In Mark 5:25-34 we catch her story. Here she is – a very sick lady. So sick, in fact that she has been going to every specialist she can find, and she has spent all of her money. For her to go to that much trouble, she must have been in great pain.

But she heard…

What did she hear? She heard about Jesus and how He had been healing people who were sick. And the amazing thought came into her mind that maybe – just maybe – He could heal her also.

So she went to where the crowds were gathered and observed His power over sickness and disease. She probably heard others talking about their healings, and she increased in assurance that this time would be different.

The day finally came, and this special lady was going to act.

Can you imagine how nervous she might have been? She was not even supposed to be out in public with her ailment, so her boldness put herself at great risk of punishment. And then think about the embarrassment involved. All of those people would see her erratic behavior… And what if it didn’t work?

All of those thoughts must have roared through her head as she pushed forward to make her claim. Yet she would not be denied the blessing she had come to believe was hers. This woman was determined.

So she pursued, and we know the outcome. Her healing came – not because Jesus had chosen to give it (He didn’t even see her there), but because she reached out with faith and courage.

“Who touched me?” He said – a question which confused His disciples. How could He ask that when the crowd was heavy and many were touching Him?

This was different. Someone had touched Him in a way so that he felt power leaving His body. Though He didn’t see her, Jesus could feel the anointing being transmitted to her. Her faith had pursued the healing available through Jesus, and this faith had appropriated that healing for her.

Okay, so here we are in the present day, and I think that this message should resonate with us now. There are many problems we encounter. Sickness, financial lack, and problems with families.

Perhaps we have gone to every professional and we have tried everything they have recommended.  Perhaps we have even spent all that we had in order to find the answer. Yet the problem is still raging – with no solution in sight.

Yet as we think  about Jesus, read God’s Word and pray, we begin to focus on a different kind of solution – a heavenly one. God is still working miracles – in the 21st century. He is healing supernaturally, restoring broken lives, and restoring broken families. He is also making a way for provision when there seems to be no way for it to come.

When I find myself facing difficult situations, this woman and her tenacity stir me to take action. I pray and read passages of Scripture or other books to elevate my faith. I have seen many miracles in my own life, and I expect to see many more.

And I know that there are times when you have to be bold as you go for your answers. You must pursue. You have to be determined to press through the crowd of casual believers and receive answers which seem impossible to many.

Then you’ll hear those words, “Who touched Me?” You’ll receive that power that only Jesus and His Holy Spirit can give.

Overcoming Faith

In the last post, we saw how Jesus marveled at the centurion who was so full of faith. This man was a Roman, and had neither been trained in God’s Word nor an understanding of God’s power. Yet he heard about Jesus, and recognized the authority in which He walked. As a result, he was able to receive a miracle.

In the same chapter – Matthew 8 – we see a different story. This time, Jesus and His disciples were in a boat crossing the sea when a great storm arose. The winds were whirling around and the waves were tossing the thee vessel about. Jesus was sleeping soundly in the midst of the storm until His disciples awoke Him. “Save us, Lord, we are perishing,” they cried.

As Jesus woke up and rebuked the winds and the sea, the atmosphere became perfectly calm. Then He rebuked His disciples. “Why are you timid, you men of little faith?”

Stop and think about that. If you had been one of the disciples, how would you have reacted? Would you have been as the disciples, frightened and worried? That seems like a normal reaction, doesn’t it?

Yet if what they were doing was what He expected of them, why did Jesus rebuke them?

There is a level of faith which is far above anything that any of us has attained but which is available to those who seek Him. But it doesn’t come from seeking Him for the faith. It comes from seeking a deeper relationship with Him. Continue reading “Overcoming Faith”

It Takes Faith

It takes faith.

It takes faith to live any life with even a modicum of satisfaction. To live a great life which honors God and brings Him glory, takes great faith. We have heard that over and over, yet often this is the very place where we need some work.

Okay, okay, we say. We know that. But how do we get more? And why does it seem to slip away so easily?

The answer to the latter question is simple. The world – the cosmos – the natural way of thinking is enmity against God. His Kingdom operates on such a different plane that we sometimes find it hard to think in Kingdom terms.

For instance, in the world, we say, “You have to see it to believe it.” In the Kingdom, the truth is that “You have to believe it to see it.”

The world says to grab hold of everything you can and hold on to it. God’s Kingdom says, “You have to give to receive.” Continue reading “It Takes Faith”

Living From the Inside Out

If you have been with me for awhile, you may remember my post concerning “Life’s Greatest Mystery.” Paul talked about it in Colossians 1:27, when he said it’s Christ in you which is the Hope of Glory.

From my perspective, that is a concept which we cannot overemphasize. In essence, it is the very heart of what Christianity is all about. it’s not about rules and regulations – as with other religions. It is about the cleansing we received as believers – through the blood of Jesus – and it’s about the fact that the Holy Spirit now lives within us. We are truly temples of the Living God – right here on earth.

Now as I say these things, I am quickly reminded of two misconceptions which always come up when we discuss these topics. The first misconception is that every human on earth is right now a temple of the Holy Spirit –  and that is not true. It is true that every human is created in the image of God, and as such, has the capability of becoming a temple of God’s Spirit, but first they have to be cleansed. They have to receive the forgiving, cleansing gift of Jesus and the price He paid. Then they can become temples of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading “Living From the Inside Out”

The Blessing Behind the Red Door

I heard a remarkable story recently, and I would like to share it with you. This red door may seem ordinary at first glance, but it represents the event I’m about to share – and it represents even more. It represents God’s guidance and His blessing. Read on, and you will see.

My husband and I have some friends who have walked closely with the Holy Spirit for many years, and their lives exemplify that in many ways. They are kind, generous, full of the Word and faith. And they are extraordinarily prosperous.

From their platform of giving, God has prospered them abundantly – just as the Word says He would. Having started with the opening of one single business many years ago, they now have a chain of properties scattered throughout several southern states – facilities which bring in quite a substantial harvest.

As we were sipping a cup of coffee and chatting recently, they began sharing how God’s hand had guided them throughout their business building process. They have many stories of remarkable guidance, and that day they shared one special one.

Roughly 30 years ago, when our friend – let’s call him Bill – was in the early stages of building his business, things were going well. His business was growing and prospering, and he had seen God’s guidance as he expanded to several locations. Continue reading “The Blessing Behind the Red Door”

Looking For Hidden Treasure

Have you ever been on a treasure hunt? It’s a fun adventure.

One year when our son was in elementary school, we organized a treasure hunt for his birthday party. My husband diligently surveyed our yard, making notes about possible landmarks. Then he created a map, which looked like an antique rendition of a pirate’s map, including the many markers which could lead to the treasure. (A chest full of candy and surprises which would interest boys of his age).

The map took them to the Maple tree and then 25 paces to the right where they would find the rock with a red line on it. Then the directions would lead them to turn right and take 19 paces to find the Rose bush, etc., etc. Finally, of course, the directions would lead them to the place where the treasure was hidden.

It was great fun seeing the boys run and jump around the yard, yelling with glee when they found a benchmark… And when they found the treasure, the effort was worth it!

I had a dream recently which reminded me of this moment, though in some ways it was quite different. I saw a bunch of us entering an old barn which was covered with dust and decay. We went in as a group, knowing that we were on a mission to accomplish something. Continue reading “Looking For Hidden Treasure”

Do People Trust You?

This is a Guest Post from http://theSoar.net.

Have you heard the story about the bicyclist who came to a small town to put on his dare-devil show? There hadn’t been mush excitement around for awhile, so the townspeople were thrilled as they gathered for the exhibition. They gazed toward the sky as the cyclist stretched a wire across the intersection, attaching it to the two tallest buildings in town. Then as he energetically scurried down, he addressed the crowd in his best carnival voice.

“How many of you people think that I can ride my bicycle on this wire across the intersection?”

Yeah’s and yea’s filled the air.

“Who will come and ride on my shoulders?”

Silence. Nobody even moved until one tiny boy came running forward. “I will.”

He was the only one who trusted the man’s word.

This story illustrates the truth about the word Trust. Many people can be cheering you on – in your ministry or your business. But do they really trust you? Continue reading “Do People Trust You?”

How Can You Really Know God?

How can you really know God? That’s a question people ask often – even believers. How do you know what He is like? How do you know what He will do? How do you know what He wants from us?

There is much speculation and reasoning which goes into the answers given by many. They use rational thought to try to figure out God. They say, “If God is a loving God, then He must…,” as they run off into their latest conjecture.

Well, God really can’t be known through intellectual thought. He is far too great for us to just “figure out.” In fact, it’s laughable for arrogant men to think that they can do that.

So what is the source of our knowledge of Him? There is a source, and it seems too simple for the arrogant, but that’s the way God is. He confounds the wise with His methods.

So what is the way we could know Him? He sent us His Word, the Bible, so we could know Him. As we pray and seek the Truth, we find the Truth. If we honestly want to know Him, He will meet us in the pages of His Book.

So if you want to truly know God, read His Word and read it all! Many times we will pick certain verses out of context, and build doctrines out of those, sometimes promoting half-truths or even error. Sometimes it’s effective to pull verses from here and there to show the threads of truth God has provided us. Yet if we put the verses into the proper context, the Truth will leap off the pages for us.

From the first Words of the Bible to the last, Jesus was God’s mission. He wanted to restore mankind back to Himself, and God was going to send His Son, Jesus, to pay that price for our sins. That was the only way we could be cleansed and restored. So from cover to cover, that’s what it was all about.

Think about it. If God had beamed Jesus down to earth and had Him go through all that He did without the years of preparation through the Jews, we wouldn’t have known what He was all about. We wouldn’t have received Him as our Savior. We would still be in the dark. Continue reading “How Can You Really Know God?”

What Is God Saying To You?

What is God saying to you? That is one of the most important questions you will ever ask yourself. Are you listening? Do you hear Him? How can you know for sure what He is saying?

As you read the Bible, you realize that God has always wanted to talk to us. From the time of Adam when He met with His people in the cool of the day, until this present time, God has been speaking. So what is He saying? And how does He speak to us?

The first means by which God will speak to us is through His Word: the Bible. This miraculous book contains the thoughts and plans of God as He has walked with men throughout the centuries. Line upon line, precept upon precept, we begin to capture His nature and His intentions toward us. We begin to see His love and faithfulness toward His people.

I recently read an article written by a supposed Bible scholar, saying that to understand the Bible, you had to realize that it wasn’t consistent, but a hodge-podge of writings by many people of many different cultures. Boy, did he miss it.

Sure the cultures were different throughout the centuries as the many tribes and civilizations emerged on the scene. However, the one thing which caused the story to be consistent was God Himself. God never changed. He had a plan, and He continued to work with imperfect human beings to lay the foundation for His plan and then to build upon that foundation bringing His plan to fruition.

Think about it. If God had just beamed Jesus down from heaven and had Him fulfill His mission on the cross, no one would have understood what He had accomplished. To most people, He would have been just another man who died on the cross.

But that’s not what God did. He took centuries developing His relationship with Abraham’s children – the nation of Israel. He needed a family of people through whom He could bring His Son into the earth legally – that is, to be born into the earth. He also wanted these chosen people to understand the blood sacrifice Jesus would make when the day came for that. So He instituted patterns of worship which would lead the people to understand His perfect lamb. And He instituted patterns of the tabernacle which would point to God’s true temple in heaven. He showed all of the elements of heavenly worship so that His people could get a glimpse.

To accomplish His goal, God had to be very strict. If the people couldn’t stay focused on their relationship with Him, they would start copying the cultures around them, and they would abdicate their mission ordained by Him. To accomplish His plans, these people had to be true to Him. So when God’s people turned away from Him and followed after other gods – the gods of the surrounding neighbors – they  received strict punishment in order to keep them on track.

So this unchanging, all powerful, all knowing, forever loving God dealt with His chosen people so that His Son could be brought to the earth. When the day finally came for His entry, the Holy Child Jesus came to earth as the son of Mary, from the family of Abraham. Though His entry had been prophesied and promised for centuries, most of the leaders could not understand who He was and what God was doing.. They were too focused on outward, prideful appearances, and they were offended by the humble entrance of the Savior.

So we can see that these supposed Bible scholars didn’t recognize their Savior when He arrived. They were too caught up in the pomp of their positions, and they wanted to look good to those around them. So they missed it.

Now we come back to our original question. How can we know what God is saying? How can we know His character and His nature? How can we know His will for us?

When we come to the Bible and receive it with humble, teachable hearts, we will begin to see who He is. He will speak to us through the passages of scripture written so long ago. He will open our eyes to His plans and His purposes in the earth. We will truly come to know our God and to hear what He is saying to us.

As you read the Bible ask the Holy Spirit to show you what He wants you to know. There will be times when you will start reading in a ho-hum manner and suddenly some divine thoughts will leap off the page. You will see things you never saw before – even in passages you have read over and over.

As you and I continue this journey, we will begin to hear more and more from God. He will reveal Himself – and He will reveal His will. We will begin to know what we are to do in order to fulfill our purposes in the earth. Then we will grab hold of the grace available for us to accomplish those purposes.

We will hear what He is saying.

Forever Upward!

Suellen Estes150

 

 

P.S. If you would like a Bible reading plan with notes for understanding, check this out. If you want the big picture, you must read it from cover to cover.

What’s So Significant About the Bible?

What’s so significant about the Bible?

Why is the Bible truly one of God’s greatest miracles in the world today? For the next few posts I want to be sharing my perceptions about this.

Let me start with a story. You may remember – or remember having heard about – a horrific incident  which happened in 1979. It was right after the Shah of Iran was overthrown by radical Muslim clerics. (The same radical group still in power there today).

Thousands of radicals screaming, “Death to America,” stormed the American Embassy and took 66 Americans hostage – and held them captive for 14 months. We are talking about U.S. government officials being taken captive and held by this evil regime. It was unbelievable.

Jimmy Carter was president at the time, and it was the greatest embarrassment of his presidency as he was totally ineffective in trying to obtain their release. In fact, when President Carter directed an attempt to rescue the people, 8 American servicemen died in the effort, without obtaining their release. The mission was a dismal failure.

The United States was humiliated – and shocked at the treatment of their officials and the inability to find a solution. The release of these people didn’t come until Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president. That very day, they were released. Continue reading “What’s So Significant About the Bible?”