Friday, January 7, 2011
They are part of an international interdenominational community committed to prayer, mission and justice. Starting in England in 1999, 24-7 Prayer has spread to 100+ nations. Mr. Jon Petersen leads the 24-7 Prayer teams in USA & Canada. He was raised in Japan as a missionary kid.
Go to their web site for more details: www.24-7prayer.com
Worship starts at 10:30 and goes until about 12:15.
Come and learn how YOU can be part of a Prayer Movement that will change the country of Japan and that of all Asia.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Mark 5: 25-34
Last year, we were looking at some verses in the great Book of Mark. We saw what kind of authority Jesus had. He has authority to called His followers; He drove out Evil spirits, and He taught with authority—unlike anyone else. He healed many who were sick; like with leprosy, a paralytic; He calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee. A dead girl became alive when He touched her. Such wild things happened when Jesus came into a room or into an area. The sick got healed—not just better and the dead became alive again. Nature was under His control—His authority, and people started to listen to Him. They came to Him from all over the region. Jesus seems like He was trying to get away from them at times by getting into a boat, walking on the water—to evade their desire to make Him king. (We’ll get back to that in another talk.)
You might remember that Jesus was on His way to help a man who came to Him because his little girl was dying. Jairus said, “Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”
Then something happened that seemed like an interruption to poor Jairus. Jesus stopped. He stopped because someone touched Him.
This lady had a problem: for such a long time, she had been bleeding. Being unclean, she could not do the tasks most ladies would have. Some people would avoid her altogether. She could not attend Temple worship. She could not even hold her child-if she were a mother. If she was married, she could not be intimate with her husband. Her issue of blood was also draining—not only her health but her financial life as well. For over 12 years, doctors have been taking her money. I don’t know if they knew how to treat her—the fact remains, she was still bleeding.
Leviticus 15:25 "'When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period.'"
Religious law prevented her from being involved in ANY social or religious activity whatsoever! She was a real cast away! And after 12 years, she was beyond any hope of getting better. Every day for the past 12 years, she was bleeding. Think of the condition she’d be in! No money, no family, no interaction at all—except for the so-called Doctors of her day. And she had heard that Jesus was around. Just like Jairus had. He was looking for Jesus because of his personal need. This lady as well. Her faith in the medical profession was below zero. They could only help themselves to her bank account. She was desperate! She had to touch Jesus’ cloak. She had heard about Jesus and come to understand that it would only take that touch and her ills would be over! But she had to do it in secret. She had to come up behind Him and ambushed Him with this forbidden touch.
Ever been in a crowded train? No! Well, I have. People are pushing and bumping you all over the place. The Air Show in the SDF air base near our home was so crowded, I began to think I was going to be crushed! The crowd seems not to care. They just pushed forward. No place to go but they pushed forward. It hurt! On a train once, I remember being SO pressed, I counted seven different people touching me and remembered a story that IF eight people touched you at the same time—you would die. I reached out my hand and tempted death. (I live today!)
Here was a woman in deep need and out of the protective care of a compassionate society. She broke all the rules by getting into the crowd. And then she touched Jesus. Deliberately touching Him, making Him unclean. If I just touch His Clothes…I will be healed!
Of course, Jesus was pressed upon! “A large crowd followed and pressed around Him.” But verse 30 gives us more than a clue that something ELSE was going on. “At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him…” And “He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched My clothes?”
His followers thought that Jesus was being silly. Of course, with all these people around You—Your going to feel the crowd pressure! But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.
Did He not already know? He is God, right?!? Isn’t He all knowing? Did He not know of this incident from the beginning of Time?
I believe Jesus did know. He knows everything about everything. He knows what you are thinking right now. Don’t be embarrassed! He knows all about the stuff you are going through right now. Your pressing situations. No one else in this room has any idea of your situation, but He does. What is done in secret, it is all known by Him.
In truth, Jesus is looking for people to touch Him in their need. And to touch Him is to show Him you are ready to deal with your need. And He is looking for that today, the first Sunday in 2011. He is looking for you to touch Him----so He could touch you.
And she did just that! She touched JESUS! Look at verse 29: Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. And can you even imagine what was going on in her mind? Immediately, the pain ended. The flow stopped. She felt well again! When you are sick and you are having a hard time remembering what it was like NOT to feel so bad…THAT is how she was feeling right at that moment! And the joy was complete.
Almost! Jesus stopped and turned and asked that hard question. “Who touched My clothes?” “Oh, No! What am I to do now? I’m going to be sent to jail or kicked out of the village!” And He kept looking for the one who had done this touch thing. She HAD to come forward. And when she did, Jesus was not firm with her but listened to her truthful tale and showed compassion on her. Look at Matthew’s account of the same event: Matthew 9:22 at Dr. Luke’s account from Luke 8:47-48.
Jesus realized that power had gone out from Himself. What was that all about? Was His power pack becoming depleted?
I don’t believe it was a question of a lessening of power in His Divine Being but the movement of healing by Faith in action. In essence, Faith touched the God-Man and Jesus knew it. Faith was exercised and He could tell. There was some spiritual activity there that we could not see but Jesus could know it. A Spiritual response to this Act of Faith.
We are all having questions that might really drain us this year. Like: How Can I Cope with Stress? How Can I Rebound from Failure? How Can I Be Confident in a Crisis? How Can I Live Above Average? How Can I Overcome Loneliness? How Can I Ever Change? How Can I Be Well Again? What Will Become Of My Family When I Die?
God has more to give us this new year. There are so many more promises to claim, more ground to gain and more hope to be had. It can truthfully be said that Our Heavenly Father has more to give us this year than we can possibly obtain. But, we should give it a try anyway. One man had said (George Mueller): “faith grows with use…put it to work by reverent and faithful praying, and it will grow and become stronger day by day. We should dare to trust God for something small and ordinary and next week or next year you may be able to trust Him for answers bordering on the miraculous.” As your Pastor, I need to encourage each of you to grow in your Faith.
Everyone has some faith…the difference among us is one of degree only, and the man of small faith may be simply the one who has not dared to exercise the little faith he has.
The lady in question today, put her faith to the test. Yes, and she did it without any doubt. “If only I could touch His clothes, I will be healed!” Her faith was tested and she found it strong enough. Even Jesus said that her faith had healed her. How is your faith today? Are you willing to reach out and touch Jesus? He will only grant you His best. Reach out and receive His blessing today.
His promise to us is found in Jeremiah 29:11. Call out to Him! Reach out to Him! He will honor your Faith and touch you right back and you will hear Him say to you: “Your faith has healed you. Go in peace (SHALOM).”