Borrowing Trouble

be anxious for nothingHeading over Tim Couch Pass deep in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, I was apprehensive.  I was making the three-hour-plus journey from my home to a church that is part of New Hope’s church planting partnership. The church struggled greatly in the beginning, but had experienced solid growth in the last year. Regular church goers were growing in the faith and a number of people in the community had experienced the Lord’s saving grace. A new couple had started working with the youth and the numbers were growing. Things were going well, and the future looked bright.

Then a disturbing phone call came to me from the pastor. An argument had erupted in the church. Two church members had a heated exchange that could be heard in the sanctuary. Both of the men entered the sanctuary, took their family members, and left the church. It was a heartbreaking event. The pastor had to be away on the following Sunday, and he asked me to preach for him. With great apprehension, I was on my way.

A flashback came to me of a time earlier in life when I had experienced dread and trepidation about an upcoming meeting. My grandmother said to me, “Don’t borrow trouble. Pray! Things are seldom as bad as we imagine”. A comforting verse also emerged from that earlier conversation, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).

As I traveled to minister to a church in crisis, I was once again ‘borrowing trouble’.  Heeding my grandmother’s advice, I prayed. I could sense a calm in my spirit. The final miles of my journey were spent in prayer and thanksgiving. As always, I found God’s word to be true! How I’ve proved it over and over! The trouble I had anticipated did not materialize.

While it was tense in the beginning, I invited the congregation to come and gather around the altar. We repeated together Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” After a time of prayer, I delivered the message I believed God had given me. There were six people that humbly came to the altar when the invitation was given. There was a sweet spirit in the sanctuary. Although there remained apologies that needed to be made and forgiveness that needed to be offered in the days ahead, the church now had a chance to moving forward.

Conclusion: Don’t borrow trouble! Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).

~ Brother Roy

The Heart Beat

heartbeatI had the car radio tuned to a Christian station while I was traveling on the Mountain Parkway. I love to drive on this scenic highway that leads into the heart of Eastern Kentucky. I was half listening and half enjoying the beautiful scenery. During a few minutes of listening, I heard one of the program speakers share an incredible account.

In my best recollection of the radio account, a healthy young athlete in his early twenties was in a tragic automobile accident. He sustained massive head injuries. At the hospital, the parents faced the grave reality that their only son was showing no brain activity. Prayerfully, the heart-wrenching decision was made to donate their son’s organs to those in urgent need of a transplant.

After a couple years of healing with the help of the Lord, the young man’s mother started on a quest with the help of the medical personnel who organized the procedures necessary to remove the healthy organs and get them to quantified recipients. She was eventually able to contact each organ recipient and asked each if she might meet them. One at a time, she met the people who had received her son’s healthy organs. Tears and expressions of thankfulness greeted her from those who had received these life giving gifts. These meetings helped her continue the healing process and brought her great joy.

Her final contact, purposely planned, was the man who had received her son’s heart. She walked up on the porch and faced the man who was alive because of her son’s heart. She momentarily lost control and ran toward the man. She threw her arms around him and gave him a bear hug, nearly lifting him off the floor. She held on for the longest time. Stepping back, she offered a tearful apology for the prolonged hug. “I’m sorry, I just wanted to feel my son’s heart beat!”

I can’t help but wonder if that’s what it will be like when we arrive in Heaven. Our Heavenly Father will open His arms and give us a hug and hold us for a moment. Then we’ll hear Him say, “I just want to hear My Son’s heart beat.”

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all.” (1 Timothy 2:4-5)

~ Brother Roy

Autumn Leaves

A sign, a bumper sticker, or catchy phrase often serve as a catalyst for a devotional thought. A little phrase I recently saw, “Autumn leaves – Jesus stays, is a case in point.

The world around us is in a constant state of flux and change. The old phrase, ‘Here today – gone tomorrow,’ seems to be the order of the day. Dress fashions change, lifestyles change, opinions change, even relationships are subject to change. Fifty percent or more of those who stand before a minister or government official and say they will remain together ‘til death us do part’ will sooner or later end in divorce. Contracts are broken, promises fail, and guarantees prove unreliable. Things are constantly changing. Some say, ‘the only things that are sure are death and taxes.’

Continuous change often leaves us disillusioned and confused. Depression that stems from instability in our lives haunts many of us. The heart cry arises, “Is there anything that I can count on?” The answer is YES!  The heavenly Father speaks,  “For I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:6a).  A kindred verse in the New Testament resonates with the same assurance, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  I love to sing the old refrain, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand!”

Across the centuries, through a myriad of changes, in the face of devastating uncertainty, Christians have taken refuge in Scripture. Believers have proved God’s word to be true over and over again. Jesus said, “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you” (John 14:18). Hear the last words Jesus spoke just before His ascension, “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). You can take solace in these words from Scripture, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning(James 1:17). The writer of Hebrews gives us this assurance, “ For He Himself (Jesus) has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

There are many changes taking place around us, but this one thing I know, “Autumn leaves – Jesus doesn’t !” We have His word of it.

JESUS said, Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

~ Brother Roy

Who Do You Say That I Am?

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus’ disciples struggle to understand Who Jesus is and why exactly He has come.  Despite sitting under Jesus’ teaching and seeing the signs and wonders He performs, it is made clear at many times that they just don’t get it.  And all of this culminates with an important conversation with the disciples in Mark 8:27-38

Jesus and His disciples are on their way to Caesarea, and Jesus just comes out and asks – “Who do people say that I am?”  They reply that some think He’s John the Baptist, others say Elijah, others say one of the prophets.  So Jesus continues:  “But who do you say that I am?”  And Peter, perhaps the boldest of the disciples, says, “You are the Christ.” 

In Matthew’s account of this interaction (Matthew 16:13-28), Jesus praises Peter for his response, and says “upon this rock I will build My church(v.18). He promises Peter the keys of the Kingdom of heaven. Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ – but did he really understand?

Today we use the term “Christ” as interchangeable with Jesus’ name.  In our minds it is clearly identified with Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God.  But “Christ” was not a new term when Peter used it to answer Jesus’ question.  It was a title, not a name.  The word christ (Greek) and the word messiah (Hebrew) mean the same thing – “anointed one”.  So when Peter referred to Jesus as the “Christ”, he was saying that Jesus was the anointed one, perhaps like King David. 

Today we would understand Messiah, Christ, Anointed One, to be synonymous with Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior of the world.  But in that day, the Jewish people were looking for a Messiah who would deliver them, like Moses of old, from the political and economic oppression of foreign invaders. They were not anticipating one who would come to preach a gospel of repentance and humility and servanthood.

Jesus did not come to take Herod’s throne, or to lead a rebellion, or to overthrow Rome.  So when Peter confessed to Him, “You are the Christ,” Jesus “warned them to tell no one about Him” (v.30).  And Jesus begins to explain, Mark says “plainly”, that He must suffer many things, and be rejected by the religious leaders, and be killed, and after three days rise again.  He is explicitly telling them not only Who He is, but also what He is there to do.

Peter pulls Jesus aside, and begins to rebuke Jesus (v.32)!  If it wasn’t clear before that Peter’s answer wasn’t evidence that he finally understood, then surely this is.  When Peter said, “You are the Christ,” he wasn’t talking about a suffering servant who would be rejected and assassinated.  In this crucial conversation it became clear that Jesus’ plans did not mesh with Peter’s plans for Jesus.  Who Jesus was was not Who Peter wanted Him to be.  And Jesus says to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s” (v.33).

Peter’s understanding of Who Jesus is and what He is there for was so bad that when he tries to convince Jesus to be what the people want Him to be, Jesus says it’s like hearing from Satan himself.  (In fact, Jesus had heard this from Satan himself – when He was tempted in the wilderness in Matthew 4:8-9.) 

Perhaps Peter and his buddies thought they were going to be the brain trust for the “George Washington” of Israel.  They thought Jesus was going to set up shop on the throne in Jerusalem, and they would be his trusted advisors.  They imagined freedom from Roman oppression, deliverance from puppet dictators, and real political power, and they said, “Now that’s what I’m talking about!”

But Jesus says, “That’s not what I’m talking about!”  He calls the crowd to Him, and He says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (v.34-35).  Wait a minute, this is not what we signed up for!  Deny myself? Take up a cross?  Lose my life?

Yes, Jesus says.  “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world (to gain political power or an earthly throne), and forfeit his soul?  For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (v.36-37).  Jesus is saying that His purpose is so much more important than a throne or freedom or power.  You can have all of those things, but if your soul is damned, what good is it?

But Peter and the disciples don’t want a servant’s life.  They don’t want the kind of love that would compel one to lay down one’s life for another.  They’re so embarrassed by Jesus’ obvious misunderstanding of His own purpose that Peter feels compelled to rebuke Him over it.  But Jesus says, “whoever is ashamed of me and my words…the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His father with the holy angels” (v.38)

There is a Kingdom coming.  But it is not like any other kingdom in the history of the world.  We dare not be dissatisfied by or ashamed of Jesus and His mission, lest He be ashamed of us when He comes to establish His Kingdom.  Instead, let us pray as Jesus taught us to pray, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” and live our lives toward that end.

~ Matt Kinnell
NHIM Board Chair

Demons, Pigs, and an Unlikely Missionary

At the end of Mark 4, Jesus had been teaching and healing, and He and His disciples took a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee.  A huge storm blew in, but Jesus was a heavy sleeper.  (Remember, when someone says, “Be more like Jesus,” napping on a boat is a legitimate option.)  The frightened disciples woke Jesus, He spoke to the storm, and the sea became calm.

So the disciples have had this terrifying and harrowing experience on the sea, and they’re freaked out because Jesus just spoke to the weather and it listened, and where do they come ashore?  A graveyard.  It is probably still night.  And they begin to hear screams in the darkness. And out of the tombs comes a naked man with superhuman strength who is screaming and gashing himself with stones.  This is some creepy stuff!

The wild man comes running up to Jesus, and Jesus, sensing that the man was demon-possessed, commands the unclean spirit to come out – like He has many times before.  But the man claps back at Jesus, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torment me!” (Mark 5:7).  (Notice that what he doesn’t do is come out of the man.)

So Jesus commands the man to identify itself, and the man responds that he is called “Legion”, because there were so many demons possessing him. (A legion was a Roman regiment of 6,000 troops.)  This cadre of demons is clearly powerful.  They do not come out immediately.  Instead, they beg Jesus to send them into a nearby herd of pigs; Jesus permits, and the herd of 2,000 pigs runs into the lake and drowns.

No one was more surprised by the mass suicide of pigs (sooey-cide?) than the herdsmen, and they ran and reported all over the place what had happened, and the people came to see for themselves.  And when they came, they saw this wild man – whom they called “Legion” because of all the demons in him – sitting down, clothed, in his right mind.  Amazing!  And then the herdsmen told how the pigs all jumped in the lake.  And the people’s response was to worship and follow after Jesus, right?  No, they begged Him to get out of town!

What a tragedy!  The Savior of the world is right there in their midst, and they’re crying over lost bacon!  And you know what?  When they said, “Jesus, we don’t want you here,” He got back in His boat and left.  What a tragedy.  Who knows who all may have been healed, who may have been saved by Jesus’ ministry in that region. We may never know the ripple effects of rejecting Jesus instead of receiving Him.

As Jesus was getting into His boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged Jesus to take him with them.  But Jesus said no.  Instead, He tells the man who was once called Legion, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you” (v.19).

Mark tells us the man’s home was the Decapolis, a region that was essentially Greek in population and culture – they had Greek gods and Greek temples and Greek art, and they were devoted to the Greek way of life.  And here comes the man who was called Legion – who roamed the graveyard naked, screaming and cutting himself – and he is clothed and in his right mind, telling the story of how Jesus radically redeemed his life.  And the people were amazed. 

I have heard all my life the stories of great missionaries – Hudson Taylor, Adoniram Judson, Amy Carmichael, E. Stanley Jones.  Can you believe that the first missionary Jesus sent to the gentiles was a wild man called Legion?  Now that is a great missionary story.  And if Jesus can take the man called Legion and commission him to carry the Gospel, surely He can use you and me.

~ Matt Kinnell
NHIM Board Chair

Making Hay While the Sun Shines

It had been a particularly rainy spring. The farmers were well behind in getting hay in for the winter. There had been precious few sunny days in a row when hay could be cut, dried, and baled. At last, the weather forecast called for several consecutive day of sunshine. There was a flurry of activity in the hay fields on area farms. The old adage ‘make hay while the sun shines’ came into clear focus.

Experts believe the phrase came from medieval English farmers hundreds of years ago. A similar notion is expressed in The Bible, in Proverbs 10:5: “He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.” The Message paraphrase provides a modern flare: “Make hay while the sun shines—that’s smart; go fishing during harvest—that’s stupid.” In any case, the the meaning is clear – make the most of opportunities while you have the chance. Certainly, we should utilize opportunities in the physical realm, but it is doubly true that we must do so in the spiritual realm.

Procrastination and delay in seeking salvation can be disastrous. In the opening chapters of Genesis, the principle is clearly established in the account of Noah. Many Bible scholars believe the Ark took decades to complete, perhaps 120 years (Genesis 6:3). Across all of those years Noah and his work bore witness of impending doom. When ‘the fullness of time’ came, Noah, his family, and all the animals were directed by God to board the Ark. The Lord then closed the door. (Genesis 7:16, NKJV). All human flesh perished except for Noah and his family. God’s day of grace was missed. Across the pages of God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture, He has warned us not to neglect our salvation.

  • “For He says: ’In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2, NKJV)
  • “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 4:7, NKJV)
  • “The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.” (Jeremiah 8:20, NIV)

Conclusion: Today, the Son of God offers us the opportunity to come into His Ark of Salvation before the door is shut.

We need to make hay while the SON shines.

~ Brother Roy

The Apple

apple treeI have always been a student of the simple truth often found in folk sayings and proverbs. One of the most common such phrases is, ‘The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’.  Scattered around the bottom of an apple tree is the fruit it produces. This fruit falls off the branches and drops to the ground, remaining close to the tree it came from. Eventually, this natural occurrence turned into a metaphor and today it means that a person is a lot like their parents. The phrase is typically used in connection with children who show qualities or talents similar to their parents.

Long ago, Solomon recognized children do indeed manifest the characteristics of their parents. Both inherited and learned behaviors emanate from the home. The time-honored concept of the ‘the apple falling close to the tree’ is rooted in one of the Solomon’s best known proverbs. “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it(Proverbs 22:6, NIV). We should keep in mind that this proverb is a principle, not a promise.

Solomon was obviously aware that children are not only capable of training, but they will be trained with or without parental direction. I believe it is the God-given responsibility of parents to purposely intervene in the lives of their children in order to facilitate learning in a positive Biblical direction. The impressions made in childhood years will remain, unless some extraordinary cause occurs to erase them. Parents should begin instruction as soon as a child is capable of understanding. It is important to nurture them in Christian principles and virtues before they begin to receive other impressions. If we do, it is highly likely they will grow up in the faith, and when they are older they will not forsake it, but retain it as long as they live.

However, parents must surely know that even the very best training by the wisest parents in the world cannot positively guarantee goodness and wisdom in their children. Scripture teaches us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. We are wonderfully made because God created us with intelligence and free will – we are free to choose our relationship with Him. We are fearfully made because…God created us with intelligence and free will – we are free to choose our relationship with Him. Our children may choose to reject the truth we teach them, to slight the example we set for them, and to spurn the counsel we give them. In the will of every child there is a power which cannot be forced, which can only be won. When parents have done everything in their power, there will remain that element of individuality which will choose its own course and form its own character.

There is but one gate of entrance into life (Matthew 7:14). That gate is the personal, individual acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Parents may lead a child up to it, but that child must pass through it of their own accord.  The good news is that there are countless examples in scripture and the witness of a great host of fellow Christians that provides assurance that ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NIV)

Show Your True Colors

true colors

Some years ago, I was privileged to preach a revival in a small town in Northern Ireland. It was during the period know as ‘the Troubles’. It was a time when violence frequently erupted between Protestant and Catholic factions. The conflict was not only at the national level, but also spilled over in bitter conflicts at the local level.

Early one crisp, cloudy morning, I donned my heavy sweatshirt jacket and walked the half a mile up the hill to the center of town. At the top of the hill was a beautiful Church of Ireland. I stood by the church and peered down a street leading the opposite the direction from which I came. I saw a street sign hanging over the side walk that read – ‘Black Thorn Gift Shop’. I had long wanted a walking stick made from a Black Thorn tree. I walked to the shop and found it open. The elderly clerk scarcely acknowledged my presence. I took my liberty and looked through the small shop. I rooted through a bin of dusty canes and found exactly what I wanted. The proprietor was not as enthusiastic as I was about my ‘find’. In silence, he collected the purchase price and handed me the black thorn cane and walked away.

Returning home, I showed the pastor my purchase. He wanted to know where I found it. I shared the location and he gasp. You weren’t wearing that jacket were you? You are lucky you didn’t get shot. You crossed over into the radical Catholic (IRA) side of town. Your jacket is a Protestant color and the UK (University of Kentucky) logo would be seen to represents the hated United Kingdom. It was like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

Duly noted, the next day I put on a windbreaker of a different color. I then set out in the opposite direction from the day before. When I returned, the pastor was anxiously waiting. When I told him where I walked, he informed me that I had walked into a radical Ulster Unionist neighborhood wearing IRA colors. A risky walk, indeed.

The phrase ‘showing one’s colors’ suddenly took on a deeper meaning for me. McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms defines the phrase as: to show what one is really like or what one is really thinking; to show whose side one is on. I found a life lesson in this experience.

Christians are finding the world increasingly critical and even hostile to people of faith. In part, I believe this is due to people who pretend to be something they are not. Although they may try to appear to be Christian, careless living, behavior unbecoming a true follower of Christ, and lack of commitment to Biblical principles reflects something different. Jesus alerted us to those who don’t ‘show their true colors’. Here are two examples:

  • “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16, NKJV).
  • “He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Mark 7:6).

Jesus issued a stern warning to believers whose profession does not match their possession: “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6, NIV). Dear bothers and sisters in Christ, we can only show the true colors of a Christian when Christ resides within. Are you showing the true colors of a Christian?

Prayer: Lord, as we move among family, friends, and fellow church members, may the colors we show truly be the colors of a pure heart.

~ Brother Roy

I Believe – Help My Unbelief!

There was a man who brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus’ disciples.  The demon sent the boy into seizures, and it tried to destroy the boy by throwing him into fires or water.  The disciples tried to cast the demon out, but they could not do it.  And Jesus was clearly disappointed with them: “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?” (Mark 9:19).

Jesus had the boy brought to Him, and immediately the demon cast the boy into convulsions, and he fell to the ground, rolling around and foaming at the mouth.  The boy’s father pleaded with Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” (v.22).  And Jesus replied, “If you can?  Anything is possible to him who believes” (v.23)

Do you think this father was discouraged by the failure of the disciples?  It seems almost certain that he would be.  Maybe some doubt was creeping in – I’ve heard this guy and his followers can heal and cast out demons, but when I brought my son to them, they couldn’t help.  I don’t think we should be too critical that his plea was prefaced with an “if you can”. 

We see time and time again throughout the Gospels that Jesus responds to demonstrations of faith – the paralytic’s friends (Mark 2:5), the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:34), the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:29).  But this man clearly has doubts, so Jesus encourages him – if you will just have faith, anything is possible.  And the father responds in a way that is a great pattern and example for us.  He says, “I do believe – help my unbelief!” (v.24).

If doubt has never crept into your spiritual life, then you have never seriously considered things.  And there will certainly be times when we are tempted to doubt or take things into our own hands or think God is dragging His feet or be alarmed at God’s silence.  But we must have faith, so we cry, “I believe! Help my unbelief!”  We admit that our faith is shaken, but we trust God and rely on Him to give us the grace to endure.  But how do we find that grace to believe?

Jesus casts the demon out of the boy, and later when He is alone with His disciples, they ask Him why they were unsuccessful – why they couldn’t cast out the demon.  And Jesus says simply, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer” (v.29)

Prayer is what connects us to God.  Perhaps the disciples had begun to feel that the power to heal and cast out demons was within them, and they were no longer connecting with the real source of their power.  This is true of any ministry: if we fail to maintain contact with God – the source of our gifts and abilities – our ministry will have no power behind it.  It is so important to stay connected through prayer to the true source of our spiritual strength.

“I believe – help my unbelief!”

~ Matt Kinnell
NHIM Board Chair

Reaching out to Jesus

Within a crowd gathered around, pressing in on Jesus, we are told that there was “a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse” (Mark 5:25-26), and she pushed through the crowd, thinking, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well” (v.28).

Though the symptoms may not have been the same, I’m sure that many of you have experienced or have had someone close to you experience the kind of frustration that this woman had experienced – your body is tormenting you, and you go to the doctor, and the treatment for the torment is nearly as torturous as the infirmity, and nothing seems to help.  And we know that in this particular instance the social stigma must have been awful for this woman to endure – the condition would have rendered her continuously unclean under the Levitical law, shutting her off from the worship of God and the fellowship of her friends (Leviticus 15:25-27)Twelve years of pain and weakness, stigma and separation.  And the doctors only made it worse.

Then she hears about Jesus. She hears that He has healed people.  So in desperation, she fights the crowds to get near Him, and she thinks if she can just touch His garment, surely she will be healed.  So she covertly touches His garment, and the healing is so immediate and so powerful that not only does she know instantly that she is healed, but Jesus, in that same instant, feels that healing power has gone out from Him. 

Jesus turns around and says, “Who touched my garments?” (v.30).  And the disciples think he’s lost his mind: “This crowd is pushing in all around you, and you say, ‘Who touched me?’”  But Jesus knows, and the woman comes forward in fear and trembling.  She thinks she’s in trouble – she thinks she has gone too far.  She’s ashamed of her body and its affliction. She thinks she has imposed inappropriately on Jesus. 

The woman falls down before Jesus and tells Him the whole truth.  But Jesus isn’t angry.  Jesus is impressed by the faith of this suffering woman – “And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well’” (v.34).

Don’t ever be ashamed to come to Jesus.  So many people are afraid that if they make that move – if they reach out to the Savior – they’ll be met with condemnation or revulsion or criticism.  They are ashamed of who they are or what they’ve done, and they are afraid of rejection.  You are not going to find rejection from the one who said, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)

The King James Version identifies the suffering woman in this account as having “an issue of blood”. Well, we all have our “issues”. And anyone who brings their issues to Jesus in faith with a humble heart will be met with compassion.  And may we, the followers of Jesus, follow His example when such folks come to us.

~ Matt Kinnell
NHIM Board Chair