“For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” ~ Leviticus 11:45
“And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” ~ Mark 5:25-34
Holy – specially recognized as or declared sacred; dedicated or devoted to the service of God; having a spiritually pure quality
Whole – containing all the elements properly belonging; undivided; in one piece; not broken, damaged, or impaired; intact; nothing broken and nothing missing.
In the One Year Bible today we were in Leviticus 11 and Mark 5. Here are some things about these passages that spoke to me as I read, studied, and meditated on the Word. I love it anytime when I can see correlations and passages tied together.
Holiness is the key theme of Leviticus. The word “holy” appears more often in Leviticus than in any other book of the Bible. Israel was to be holy or totally consecrated to God. Holiness was to be expressed in every aspect of life, making what was to be lives of purity. Because of who God is and what he has done, his people were to dedicate themselves fully to him. Isn’t that the same He requires of us?
Peter quoted Leviticus in 1 Peter 1:13-16 – “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
In the passage from Mark, we have a woman who had a blood issue for 12 years. She had been to doctors and used all she had seeking a solution. No one had been able to help and her issue was destroying her. By the very laws that were given in Leviticus she would have been considered unclean. She would have been restricted from both religious or social life. Could her identity as “unclean” be why she touched but the hem of His garment? I have read that the hem of a Rabbi’s garment was also called wings. It reminds me of Malachi 4:2a ~ But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings. The woman with the issue of blood had heard of Jesus and reports of others being healed and she went to Him. Once there she touched the hem of Jesus garment and she was not disappointed. She was healed, made whole, and clean.
In Leviticus, we learn that uncleanness spreads like germs. When someone or something touches anything unclean, it becomes unclean.
In Mark, we learn that cleanness and holiness also spreads. Jesus is clean, and whatever He touches or whoever touches Him becomes clean…or as our passage says, “whole!”
I like the following song, “Holy is the Lord.” It holds a special place in my heart because our mission team sang this song during the church conferences we held in Romania.
Oh Father, thank you so much for Your Word that is a lamp and a light to me. Help me to listen and obey to keep my life and heart set apart and holy. Help me to stay close enough to hold to the hem of Your garment, Lord that I may live healed and whole. Nothing missing, nothing broken. Help me to be holy as You are holy. May I never settle for less. And when I fall short help me heed correction and warnings and to look to You and Your Word always for my direction. Thank You that through Jesus and His shed blood I can stand before You now, Father. Help me to always, always remember the price paid for me to be made clean. In Jesus Name. Amen.
And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples. ~ Mark 4:33-34
Parable – a story designed to illustrate or teach a truth; a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by use of comparison, analogy, or the like.
Expound – to set forth or state in detail; to explain or interpret.
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus spent a lot of time alone with the Father and then it was not until Jesus was alone with His disciples that He explained the deeper things of the Kingdom to them? Everyone wasn’t given these details.
Why is it that I say I want to go deeper in God and I pray for understanding but then turn around and fight so hard to avoid being alone even though that is the perfect setting for such revelation and relationship?
Lord, forgive me for not taking advantage of the times You have set aside for me. Help me Holy Spirit to see my times of aloneness not as much seasons of loneliness but opportunities for alone time with You! Opportunity to receive what I have asked for. In Jesus Name. Amen!
God has done amazing things in my life over the last 24 hours to encourage me and remind me that He hears, He cares, He answers prayer, and He has and always had a plan for me and for my life…and His plans are very specific and personal.
Earlier this week, I was in a state of desperation in prayer. I felt that loneliness necessary for going deeper places with God. Necessary, but painful to the core. I cried out to God during morning prayer on Monday and asked Him to please have someone pray in agreement with Him for me! Nothing seemed to come of the prayer right then, but later I felt a lifting of the despair. Although the burden was still present and I could see it, I knew I was no longer the one carrying it.
Yesterday my mom brought me a letter she had found in a box. It was written in 1980 and it was to me from my Religion professor at Gardner-Webb University. Dr. Ronnie Prevost was my professor but also went to my church. Over the few years I knew him, not only was he my professor but he was my Sunday School teacher and also a father figure. I babysat his kids, so I was close to his wife and all of his family. They loved me. When the boy that I thought I would marry showed up on my birthday with another girl Dr. Prevost is the one that saw how that sent me into a spiral of destructive behavior. My heart was broken and his heart was broken for me as he truly thought of me and treated me as a daughter. In the letter he wrote these words, “Melissa, you need to find your own special place and purpose in this world. You need to do your best to move forward. Just do your best, ok? And Melissa, always keep in mind Proverbs 3:6 ‘In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.’”
That touched my heart to be reminded of how God has ALWAYS put into my path the spiritual parents, friends, and teachers needed to help with that particular part of the path…as I acknowledged Him. My dad died in 1975. The Prevost family was a major part of my life from 1977-1981 when they moved away to work at a college in Alabama. Sometimes I forget all the people God has woven together in His great plan to help raise me and encourage me, correct me and love me. Now please don’t misunderstand, I had the best and most Godly mom and so blessed to have her always there for me, but I have had quite a few others in many stages of life that God provided. I still do, praise God. What a good, good Father who blesses me so!
I received a text this morning from a lady I used to go to church with. I haven’t seen or spoken to her in almost 6 years. She wrote… I can’t get you off of my heart and mind this week. Not sure why, but the Lord keeps bringing your name to me several times a day. When that happens, I just pray.
He hears. He cares. He answers. He has a plan for you and for me. Always has. Still does. Always will.
“There were two kinds of Christians: those who sincerely believe in God and those who, just as sincerely, believe that they believe. You can tell them apart by their actions in decisive moments.” ~ Richard Wurmbrand
Last week I was sitting at the airport on the top floor of the parking deck. I was waiting for Dan to arrive and watching airplanes takeoff on either side of me at the same time, and it was happening about once a minute. That is a lot of planes flying in unison, and these are just two runways at CLT. You wonder how in the world can they keep it all straight? They can because there’s a plan in that Control Tower. They stay focused and in line with the plan. If something changes, they have to go to the controller for further directions and permissions as it relates to the rest of the plan. Things happen, and there are changes and cancellations and delays but not without other things being affected.
It made me think about my life. Right now we are in a fight. There are so many sicknesses and other issues on all sides. It is mind-boggling. Now I ask Jesus how do I proceed in this battle? He says by keeping your focus on Me and getting direction only from Me and My Word. He is the controller, and He is my strong Tower. While there is nothing wrong with wise counsel and it is needed. In the end, the direction must come from Him alone as we only see in part. He has the grand plan, and it is good. As I focus on Him, I get clarity and understanding and strength.
If I learned anything since TZ, it is that sometimes God shuts your voice down for a season for His reasons. Maybe He shuts us up because we are our worst distraction. Most people that are talking aren’t praying and listening for His voice. This place of no voice is not a comfortable place. But I am not fearful or wavering or ignorant. I am just trying to be obedient and stay in His will for my life and my call. Some days I feel like all I have left is my focus, and yet it feels like that just might be everything.
Sitting at the airport, I was amazed by air traffic controllers and the many pilots that follow such explicit instruction. They make it flow. But I sat more in awe of my God and Father who knows the plans He has for me even in the midst of all that goes on in this crazy world and chooses to speak to me and encourage me as I focus on Him at the airport.
Thank you, Holy Spirit.
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” – Hebrews 13:5
“There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” – Joshua 1:5
Content – satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else; Satisfaction
Covetous – inordinately or wrongly desirous of wealth or possessions; greedy; eagerly desirous
Covetousness is driven by comparison, fear, envy and competition. To see things in the lives of others which you would love for yourself is great. But that should translate to creating goals to acquire an item similar to it, towards which you strive for in a healthy way. If, it is even meant for you. You should not strive for the same, exact thing.
The spirit of covetousness, stirs in you an ungodly desire for the thing that someone else has,. That desire births plans, devices and strategies for acquiring what is not yours. This puts you in direct competition with the owner of that thing. It also builds resentment in you. The outcome is that you become bitter and full of hate. The spirit of covetousness in effect, minuses and subtracts and makes you less of what you were before that journey started. A prime example would be King David and Bathsheba.
I am reminded in thinking on this of a scripture in James. “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death,” – James 1: 14-15
God gives us a command here to be content with what we have; be satisfied. I don’t believe He is talking just of money but all things of this world. Be satisfied because He will never leave you or forsake you. What a promise!
Why do we doubt this promise? Again the spirit of covetousness enters our hearts and creates doubt and worry. Worry is our attempt to control outcomes and situations. This makes worry into an idol in our lives. We stop seeking God first and give ownership of our mind and emotions over to the desire to have more and be more. Since having and being more is an endless desire, this leaves us in a perpetual state of worry. A perpetual state of covetousness. Sin.
Worry hinders our ability to obey God and therefore we sprint towards things that we feel will alleviate the worry. We make our own plans. Plans that involve things that make us feel safe and secure, numbing the worry that lurks around our thoughts. Bottom line: worry happens when we seek the created rather than the Creator…as does discontent; covetousness. God wants us to seek Him, not money, popularity, success, family, or possessions. He states over and over again that He is all that we need. He wants us to be content with what He has given us rather than always striving for more. We are to seek Him first, to share our concerns with him first, to seek His direction, His next step.
So how do we give Him our concerns? How do we live seeking Him first? It all starts by spending time, alone, undisturbed, in His presence. Not in your car, not while exercising; but in solitude. In prayer and the Word.
It does not matter how tightly knit our families are or how many close friends we have. When we go through a difficult time or trial, many a time, we still feel alone and we feel that no one cares or understands.
In the Bible, Martha knew that feeling. She had on one occasion cried out to Jesus, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?” (Luke 10:40) Jesus’ disciples also knew what it was like to feel small, alone and in trouble. They cried out, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” when they were swept up in a terrifying storm. (Mark 4:38)
Today, maybe the cry of your heart is also, “Lord, do You not care that I am alone…that I feel I am going under…that I am perishing? That I am hurting?”
Well, the Lord does care. He loves you so much that He wants you to cast all your cares upon Him—not just some, but all your cares. He wants both your big and small cares. There is nothing too small or big for Him. If it is a care in your heart or life, He wants you to cast it upon Him.
When the apostle Peter wrote “casting all your care upon Him,” he was talking about the continuous act of casting all your cares upon the Lord. As a care comes, God wants you to give it to Him. That is the lifestyle He wants you to adopt. Why? The verse gives us the reason—“for He careth for you.” You are casting all your cares upon the One who loves you, and who left all of heaven to come and die for you on that old rugged cross! That is Who you are casting your cares to. It is not just any person, but it is the One who gave His life for you!
When you are going through a difficult time, God wants you to believe that you are never alone because He Himself has said that He will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5) As the object of His care, He will take care of you for the rest of your life and eternally. You are never alone, never will be, and you are always cared for!
Oh God, I thank you for Your Word today. Father, I confess I have held on for last two years to some things that I thought were mine..but maybe they no longer were. I know you are not a God of confusion and I feel confused in some areas. Give me wisdom and understanding, Lord. Lead and guide me through this path I find myself on. I cast it all on you Jesus. My job, my finances, my relationships, my ministry, my dreams! Have I operated at all in a spirit of covetousness? What is this that is at work in my heart? Is it You pushing me forward or a discontent in my heart? You are my helper. I want to see things as You see them. I want to see the fulfillment of Your Word in my life. I let go Lord, that You may come in and have your way through this life You have allowed me. I stand here with nothing Lord. It has all come to naught since I got off the plane in Tanzania. Everything I thought I knew, I now see I don’t. I feel like a failure in so many ways Holy Spirit…except that I trust You. Thank You for this promise in Your Word.. Write it on my heart and let it be sealed with the blood of Jesus and in His precious and holy Name! Amen