Jesus Cleanses People with Healing Power

Jesus is willing to cleanse people, no matter who they are or where they come from.  This cleansing means both from sin and sickness.  When the scriptures talk of cleanliness as healing, it can be a little confusing because you have to understand the Old Testament laws regarding what is unclean to Jews in Numbers 19 (touching blood or the dead) and Leviticus 13 (person with illness, specifically leprosy).  In essence these chapters warn us:

When an unclean touches a clean person, 
the clean becomes unclean.

Along comes Jesus in the New Testament and changes all this!  In Mark chapters 1-3,  5-7, and 9-10, Jesus heals the sick and declares them clean or forgiven of their sins as well.  (If you wish to read or listen to an interpretation of Mark 5:21-43, check out Faith Church blog or podcast Healing the Daughters.)  In essence these scriptures point out:

When an unclean person touches Jesus, who is clean, 
His clean turns the unclean into clean.

The large text above have been paraphrased somewhat from a quote that my pastor shared in one of his sermons on the compassion, willingness, and power of Jesus and His Miracles of Healing from Mark 1:40-42 (man with leprosy healed).  If there was another author, I did not catch the original source and could not find anything like that or the above quotes in an internet search, so I paraphrased the key concepts.  The text makes a challenging tongue-twister and drives home the key points!

What is post-Christian?

I received an email with a link to statistics about how America is becoming a post-Christian nation?  I know society (and some churches) seem to be moving away from Bible-based principles, nonetheless I found the new term mentally confusing and emotionally conflicting.  So I tried to find a good definition I could share with others who might want to understand the term too.

Merriam-Webster defines post-Christian as "following the decline of Christianity as a majority religion." Wikipedia says it "is the loss of the primacy of the Christian worldview in political affairs, especially ... where Christianity had previously flourished, in favor of alternative worldviews such as secularism and nationalism."  Both are very scary thoughts!

I continued to search for better definitions and found a John o'Sullivan speech where says "It is a society rooted in the history, culture, and practices of Christianity but in which the religious beliefs of Christianity have been either rejected or, worse, forgotten."  He continues into a long dissertation on how this breakdown of morals and manners is:  hurting the family unit, the opposite of freedom of religion, creating false political correctness and over-stepping governmental bureaucracies.

"And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord
 thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day,
 that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 
And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee,
 if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God." - Deuteronomy 28:1-2

I also found an article by Regis Nicoll who calls post-Christianity "America's Food-Court Faith" because off all the different religions and philosophies within the United States.  The article quotes: a silly articles, other people, and a lot of statistics.  So it is a long read, but it shares hope near the end.

The original study of statistics that started me on this tangent were from USA Cities Ranked By Their Most Post-Christian Status.  This was done by actually surveying people.  Just to verify the new data, I searched for religious data on their #1 city and found USA/State/Cities had an interesting spread of religion from a city in a state colonized by Protestant Pilgrims and Puritans.  According to their results about 10% are Protestant and 49% are Catholic of the overall 60% with religious affiliations.  Not sure how the city statistics were gathered on the this one as it does not say on that site.  Their chart of USA Religions was interesting even though it also does not say where/how data was gathered.

God Hears and Answers Prayer

The devotional theme this month Bible scripture reading is God hears your prayer.  In looking for a song to help you remember this, I found several that were good for the theme and followed the scriptures that were given in the devotional.  Therefore, instead of choosing one music video, I am offering two for you to choose one that personally ministers to you from those below.   The Vinesong version, "God Answers Prayer" is hymn-like promise to you.  The Maranatha Singers "Hear My Prayer" is an upbeat personal praise prayer about strength in times of trouble.

You may also want to check out "God Hears Our Prayer" an original song by Mandy Lining .  In it she sings in a soft-whisper that assures us God knows our needs even before we pray.

July Daily Devotionals: God Hears Your Prayer

God hears your prayers, even if it does not always seem like it.  He is listening!  He knows your needs before you ask and He will meet them according to His will and His time.  If you do not immediately get what you pray for, you need to be patient and continue to pray. Or perhaps you ae praying outside his will and should  to ask God for direction and confirmation of  his will.  As a Christian, you should know you must have faith and believe God will answer you.  You are His child and He loves you.  He wants to bless you and give you the true desires of your heart, as long as it will not hinder your relationship with Him.  God knows your heart and provides for the righteous who pray persistently and confidently.  

Please read the scriptures below and think about what they are saying about prayer and what each means for your personal prayer life.

July References for Daily Devotionals



Fight the Devil's Goals - Up Your Spiritual Game

I wrote down a quote from our associate pastor last year because the truth of it really made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  He said "The devil's goal is to divert and pervert your walk with Jesus."  We need to be more aware of the tricks the devils plays and up our spiritual game so the devil does not beat us down or put us out.  If we do so, We Will Win!

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" - 1 Peter 5:8 (KJV) 

Think about that!  What do those words mean to you?

  • Webster's definitions are: "1. to turn from one course or use to another, 2. to give pleasure to especially by distracting the attention from what burdens or distresses."
  • Synonyms are: Avert, Deflect, Deviate, Distract, Redirect, Reroute, Sidetrack, Transfer
  • Webster's definitions are: " cause to turn aside or away from what is good or true or morally right, divert to a wrong end or purpose." 
  • Synonyms are: Abuse, Bend, Corrupt, Deflect, Divert, Distort,  Falsify, Garble, Misapply,  Misconstrue, Misdirect, Misinterpret, Misuse, Misrepresent, Subvert, Twist, Warp
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, 
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, 
which is your reasonable service." - Romans 12:1-2 (KJV)

How do you up your spiritual game?
  1. Read and study your Bible more!
  2. Find a devotional plan that works for you.
  3. Pray earnestly for your needs.
  4. If appropriate, ask others to pray too.
  5. Attend church services.
  6. Fellowship with other Christians.

Investigating Jesus through the Gospels

Some say the story of Jesus can not be correct because the Gospels seem to contradict each other.  As you look at the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, think of yourself as a detective.  When a detective interviews multiple people, he expects to get bits and pieces from which he can build the whole story of what happened.  This is the same with the Gospels, each disciple shares the story of Jesus from their unique perspective.  One may leave out a point they either think is not important or are not aware of, whereas another may go into greater detail on something totally different.

"Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? 
Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? 
Who hath bound the waters in a garment? 
Who hath established all the ends of the earth? 
What is his name, and what is his son's name,
 if thou canst tell?" - Proverbs 30:4 (KJV)

What parts of Jesus life do the Gospels cover?

Matthew (28 chapters) emphasizes Jesus as King and Messiah: 
  • presents royal genealogy from King David 
  • notes Jesus as prophesied Messiah from Old Testament and shows proof via (Christmas) birth and visit by the wise men 
  • flight to Egypt and return to Nazareth 
  • Jesus as a young man baptized and tempted
  • most quotes from Jesus ministry including the Sermon on the Mount (aka Kingdom LawsBeatitudes) and 14 Parables 
  • examples of healing and miracles
  • Jesus instructing and sending disciples 
  • Christ's transfiguration followed by Easter details of: Last Supper, Gethsemane, betrayal, psalm parade, trial, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection
Mark (16 chapters) emphasizes Jesus as Servant and Teacher:
  • covers Jesus' adult ministry, choosing disciples, baptism, plus Easter details
  • shares the most miracles and healing
  • gives few parables- scattered seeds, lamp, growing seed, mustard seed, evil tenants
Luke (24 chapters) emphasizes Jesus as the Son of Man
  • presents earthly genealogy from 1st man Adam
  • most read Christmas story of Jesus birth with angels, shepherds, and prophecies
  • Jesus as a child and adult ministry
  • birth and ministry of John the Baptist
  • Jesus selecting, instructing, and sending disciples 
  • examples of healing (including on the Sabbath), parables, and miracles
  • portion of the Sermon on the Mount
  • calming the storm at sea
  • warnings against hypocrisy and greed
  • Jesus meets Zacchaeus 
  • Easter details of: donkey, betrayal, Last Supper, Mount of Olives prayer, trial, crucifixion, burial,  resurrection, and appearance to disciples
John ( 21 chapters) emphasizes Jesus as the Son of God 
  • covers Jesus' adult ministry, choosing disciples and washing their feet
  • John the Baptist testifies of Jesus
  • Jesus meets Nicodemus
  • examples of healing and miracles
  • teaching at and clearing the temple,
  • warnings against unbelief
  • the raising of Lazarus
  • Jesus as the only way to the Father and as the true vine
  • introduces Holy Spirit
  • repeated and additional Easter details and multiple appearances after death
"That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, 
and things in earth, and things under the earth;\
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
 to the glory of God the Father." - Philippians 2:10-11 (KJV)

Every Christian should read God's word for themselves. Reading the Bible helps Christians learn and mature as they go deeper into the Word. All Christians need to plan to read completely through the Bible and pray over what they read.  For new Christians, this could prove a daunting task, so they may want to begin with a study guide or devotional ideas from this blog.  The life of Christ is presented via two Easter and one Christmas devotionals featuring the Gospels on this blog.  Alternatively, newer Christians can ask their pastor or a mature Christian for reading recommendations.  

What happened in Sodom and Gomorrah?

Many have heard the Bible story of Sodom and Gomorrah and do not understand what really happened.  If you read Genesis 18, you see God tells Abraham he will destroy the city as it is full of wickedness.  Abraham pleads for the city if a righteous man can be found there, but none are found.  Not even Abraham’s nephew Lot, who lived there was righteous.  Righteousness is more than just being good to others, having high ethics,  or following religious law.

"And be not conformed to this world
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." - Romans 12:2

What signs of wickedness do you see in the cities after God sent in his two agents (angels) there?  Although there may have been law breaking versions of cheating, murder, riots, theft, and etcetera –in Genesis 19, the scriptures mainly points at sexual immorality as their sin.  Sexual deviance ran rampant, rape was normal in the streets, and the lust for more led the people to do all the bad things that angered God.  Then that angry God took action to remove the cities from the face of the earth.  The only people spared were Lot and three females in his family, of which his wife was lost because she longingly looked back at (or possibly lusted after the life she was leaving behind) the city they were told to leave. 

"Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause 
to decline after many to wrest judgment:" - Exodus 23:2 (KJV)

What did the “free love” movement decades ago bring?  More fleshy lust in the forms of: adultery (sex outside of marriage), fornication (sex instead of marriage), pornography, prostitution, and other MSP issues – which resulted in increased abortions, struggling single-parents, less companionship, confused children/teens, various forms of birth control with long-term use health risks, and of course sexually transmitted diseases.  TV and Movie industry helped to spread the concept that sex outside of marriage is normal and preferred behavior rather than sinful.  Since some of those forms of open lust became accepted behaviors in society, the past few years other forms of sexual perversion, depravity, and deviance are now vying for acceptance too.   If you do not know what those words mean, reference a dictionary.  If you want examples, then read the newspaper, watch popular TV shows. or consult 1 Corinthians in your Bible.

“I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless
when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” - Luke 18:8 (KJV)

Does this make you wonder what God may be thinking about the so-called sexual revolution in current homes, communities, cities, counties, states, and countries?  How close to Sodom and Gomorrah is modern society going to get?  Where do you draw the line?  God is watching.  There is a great need for prayer, turning back to God, and to embrace his vision of love - not mankind’s ideas.  Man makes mistakes, but God can forgive where he finds righteousness is attempted.  Think before you act, consider your emotions.  Act like the humans God made you to be, rather than follow base animalistic and lustful behaviors.