The Kindness and Grace of our Savior

Unknown27She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched the fringe of his robe. 28For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his clothing, I will be healed.” 29Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel that she had been healed! (Mark 5:27-29)

How wonderful it is that God responds to faith. This woman’s faith was born out of desperation. Matthew in his gospel (9:20), tells us that she had internal bleeding for 12 years. What would it have been like to be in her situation? Her condition was one where it was illegal for her to be in a public place, for fear of contaminating anyone else.  Leviticus 15:25 says, “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.”  She would never have been able to enter Church or fellowship with others. Her condition excluded her from the social structure of the day. Mark further tells us that she had spent her all on the doctors (Mark 5:26) and was no better but rather grew worse.  This poor woman was completely broke and more than likely had not slept in a bed for some time, what hotel would have her!  What friend would let her stay at their house? Everything she touched would be ceremonially unclean.

How scared she must have been as she was mingling with the crowd trying not to be seen and recognized, desperately trying to reach Jesus, her only hope. She was desperate. Mark goes on to say that when she touched him and was instantly healed, Jesus asked “who touched me?” (v.31). Her response was one of fear, she “fell at his feet, and trembling with fear,” (v.33) told him of her illegal act of touching a rabbi. Why would she be trembling? She took a huge risk. Jesus is well known as a Rabbi in who is the Spirit of God. She would have thought that she would contaminate him with her own uncleanness and render him not able to heal the Ruler of the Synagogue’s daughter. I am sure that she expected to be severely told off.

I love Him for His response to her, “daughter your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Her history over the last 12 years of having this condition was one of rejection by people. How beautiful to see grace, acceptance, understanding and joy in the face of our Savior.  Doesn’t grace and kindness win your heart? Hasn’t He been like that with you? I long to be accepting of the poor and hurting like Him.

Prayer: Oh God, make me more like Jesus, full of grace and truth.

Keith Thomas

A Place for Each of God’s People

the last supper1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

It was the night of the Last Supper, before Jesus was to be crucified. Jesus had just told his followers that He was going to be leaving them through the door of death. As Christ looked around the table at His disciples, His heart went out to them. When our hearts are troubled, stressed, fearful and uncertain, when it seems as if our world is caving in—we are to remember what Jesus said here in this passage: “my Father’s house has many rooms” (John 14:2). No matter what is going on in your mind and heart, no matter how broken you are, no matter what you are going through, there is a place in the Father’s house for you. He’s saying it to Peter and the disciples, but He is also saying it to us.  Deep down within the very soul of each person born into this world is a yearning for a better place:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

It is said that Professor T. H. Huxley, the famous agnostic (who, by the way, invented the term “agnostic” and applied it to himself), reversed his views prior to his death and came to believe in God and a future life. As he lay dying (so his nurse reported), he raised himself on his elbows and gazed into the distance as if surveying some invisible scene, then dropped back on his pillow and murmured: “So it was true! So it was true!”[1]

Yes, it is true. In the Father’s house there are many rooms. Perhaps you have read the King James Version, which translates the Greek word monai as mansions, but the term really means dwelling places or rooms. The picture is that we will live with God in His house—that His house has many rooms for us to abide with Him. For those of you that have lived with the insecurity of moving from place to place, and in dismal circumstances, take hope! We are talking about having an eternal house in the heavens where we will be at home with God forever! When Jesus said; “I am going to prepare a place for you, we should not think in terms of Jesus the carpenter building each of us a physical home. The Greek word that is translated ‘prepare’ is hetoimazō, the word that is used of an oriental custom of sending a person before kings on their journeys to level the roads and make them passable. The word was also used to describe the disciples going to prepare the Upper Room for the Passover feast (Luke 22:9, 12). The sad departure of Christ was for the way to be prepared for the disciples and us to follow Him to the Father’s house. He went ahead of us to make the way to God “passable” for us.

So that we get a picture of what heaven will be like, the scriptures tell us of a time when a heavenly city will come down from heaven to earth—a city that is prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. Notice who we will be living with:

 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).

How wonderful it will be to live with God—the pain of this world will be dried from our eyes by the gentle touch of the Lord Himself. I think He has purposely not told us much about heaven, because many of us would want out of this world before our time. In another place Paul the apostle tells us:

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

In our wildest dreams and imaginations of heaven we cannot imagine how good it will be for those of us who walk with Christ on this earth. If your heart is troubled by the way this world is, and what you are going through, let your mind and heart be fortified with the fact that you will one day be with God Himself in His holy house. How that must have encouraged Peter, especially after he had denied Christ, that there was room for even him after he had denied his Lord. Will you be in that place with Christ? You can be! Ask Christ to come into your life and forgive your sin—receive the free gift of life—I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

If you would like to read more on this topic, this meditation was taken from the study, found on this page under the Book of John studies, John 14:1-14—Jesus the Way

Keith Thomas

[1]  Every Day With Jesus, May-June 1996 edition, Crusade for World Revival.

When in a Storm, Can You Trust your Father?

c7f45eebc8604184fd3ecd4d16c39416But Jesus ignored their comments and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just trust me” (Mark 5:36).

There are times in one’s life when we must simply trust our Father. This can be difficult when we are going through a trying situation. Sometimes it means ignoring everything but His words in the midst of a storm.

I remember a time when I was working as a commercial fisherman with my father on his fishing boat. We were on a long journey south to our home port of Harwich, Essex, England. It was past midnight and it was his turn to sleep. Before he lay down on the day bed, there in the wheelhouse alongside of me, he wanted to give me some instructions for our passing three miles off of the coast of Lowestoft, Suffolk.  He instructed me to avoid the two sandbanks that ran three miles off the shore and parallel with the coast. He wanted me to go close to the shore, away from the sandbanks, and escape the tide that would be turning against us when we got there.

Two miles ahead of us, I could see two other fishing boats from our home port. Dad had been asleep about an hour when I came up to the Scroby Sands, the Outer and Inner banks, that ran parallel and opposite the coast of Lowestoft. I reasoned to myself that, instead of following my father’s commands, I could just follow the lights of the other boats. To make matters worse, we were in a force 9 severe gale with the waves breaking over the bow of the boat. I was afraid that if I took the advice of my father, staying close to the shore, I would not see Lowestoft Pier that stuck out a few hundred yards.  As I entered the channel, I saw the red buoy to my left, and the green buoy on my right, so I knew I was at the start of the channel. What I didn’t realize, though, was that after the other boats had gone through the channel in between the sands, they had now turned course and were heading inshore so that they, too, could evade the fast flowing tide against all of us.

Following the other boats and not listening to my dad was a big mistake! My course had changed from going down the channel to following them inshore. But I hadn’t come to the end of the channel yet. Our boat hit the Inner Scroby Sands going full speed.  My dad woke with a start as the keel stuck fast on the Inner Scroby Sand in a severe gale.  Worst of all, the tide was going down and every minute diminished our chances of survival.  My father told me to put the engine in reverse and give maximum thrust on the engine.  When I did so, the boat leaned severely over on the port (left) side and we nearly capsized. In fear I took the engine out of gear. Scared of death, I asked dad to take the controls. My dad took over the helm. “We’ve got to do it, son!” he said. Our very lives were at stake. If we’d have capsized, we would never have been found and both of us could not swim and we had no life raft at the time. In any case, it was three miles to Lowestoft in mid-winter, in the dark.  With the tide going down the boat would not remain vertical as the water level dropped–we would capsize.  We faced certain death. Dad put the boat in reverse gear and rammed the throttle on the engine full speed. The boat again nearly capsized and shook violently as the propeller thrashed the water while I prayed like mad, crying, “help Lord!” In two minutes of dad taking the helm our boat came off the sands.

When we were safely on our way again, the Lord spoke to me very clearly, saying, “If you would just listen to your Father’s voice, you would be safe.” God often has a way of speaking on two different levels to us. I knew He was referring to my relationship with Him and that I was to trust His voice even when it seemed like an illogical thing to do. Father knows best! Thank God that when we feel incapable, He is there to take the controls! Can you give Him the controls of your life? Or are you still following the other boats? Can I challenge you to trust your Father’s voice? When the situation looks bleak, hear His voice, saying, “Don’t be afraid. Just trust me” (Mark 5:36).

Please, Father, help us to know your voice and obey it.

Keith Thomas

What Limits Has Man Put On You?

peterfaith2The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They asked, “Where did he get all his wisdom and the power to perform such miracles? 3He’s just the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him (Mark 6:2-3 NLT).

Have you ever felt that someone has put a limit on you as to what they think you can do? You, as well as I, have heard things like, “he’ll never amount to much” or words such as “she has always been like that and always will be.”

We must be careful with our words.  Words have great power to create and build up, but also have power to destroy.  I always remember how hurt I was at the tender age of 11 to be referred to as the ugliest kid in a school of over a thousand kids.  It took me a long time to break out of that self-image of being ugly.  What words have you had spoken over you that still limit you today?  The people in the Jewish house of worship were offended at Jesus because he was just a carpenter.  He hasn’t got the right stock, he’s never been to Bible school or seminary, he’s just a carpenter, he’s only good for woodwork, and he has no place in ministry!  People can place limits on us with their words.  We should no longer look at those that have given their lives to Christ in the same way as we once did.  There is awesome potential that has been given to you, by the Spirit of God, if you are a Christian.  Let the lid that has held you down be taken off! Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthian Church, told them to,regard no one from a worldly point of view” (2 Corinthians 5:16).  What did he mean? I believe he is talking about taking off the limits that we place on one another. Trust that God is well able to make you into the person He has called you to be and trust God that He is able to do that for others too! There are no limits to the man or woman of God. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20),

Prayer: Lord, I may not be everything you want me to be yet, but please help me to break free from every box that has limited me in my growth to be like Christ.  Let the lid be taken off.

Keith Thomas

Sundar Singh’s Miraculous Release from Prison

de932e7bb6547ac87f4dcbc4884b3d28Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Paul writes to the church at Corinth that they should give themselves fully to the work of the Lord. What is meant by the work of the Lord? It is the stewardship of the gospel—the most powerful thing on planet Earth! If we had discovered a cure for cancer, there would be a responsibility to get it to the world to save lives. We have a cure for the cancer of the spirit—the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cure for the disease of sin that ravages our planet. The propagation or furtherance of the gospel and the edifying (building up spiritually) of the saints (the people of God) is the most important work of the Lord in the world.

We have been thinking in the last few days about the life of Sadhu Sundar Singh, the godly Indian Christian. This is what Sadhu Sundar Singh gave the rest of his life for—the furtherance of the gospel. He crossed the Himalayan Mountains often from India into Tibet, called by many the Roof of the World because of its altitude, to share the gospel with the Tibetan people. God was with him as he would go into the market places of Tibet and just start preaching the gospel to the poor.

On one occasion, in a Tibetan town called Rasa, he was arrested for preaching a foreign religion. He was sentenced to death by being thrown into a pit, the bottom of which was covered with dead men’s bones and rotting flesh. The stench was overwhelming. He had come alone and was in a country where he was unknown so there was no possibility of help from any human source. He was in that pit for two days, suffering painfully with a wrenched arm from when he was thrown in. On the third night, he heard a noise from above, the cover of the well was being unlocked and lifted off. A rope came down and a voice told him to slip the noose under his arms, upon doing so he was slowly drawn up to the top. As he breathed in the fresh air he was strangely revived and the pain in his arm had gone. On top of that, his rescuer had disappeared. You’d think that Sundar Singh would have left Tibet at being released from death, but no, not this man of God. He went back into the village and started preaching at the market again! He was arrested again and brought before the head lama, the religious leader of the village. The man wanted to know who had stolen the only key to let him out. A search was made for the key only for it to be found still on the head lama’s belt. This was alarming to the head lama; some superior power was evidently at work. There was spiritual power accompanying Sundar Singh’s message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He gave no further order for Sundar to be arrested but asked him to leave the village. Sundar had no option but to leave and come back at a later date.

We need the power of God to be working with us as we communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us pray that, like Sundar Singh, we will share the gospel of God, no matter what it costs.

Keith Thomas

Taken from Phyllis Thompson’s book, Sadhu Sundar Singh, published by OM Publishing, Page 76.