The Name of Jesus

There is a name above every other name, and that name is Jesus.

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Acts 3:16 – And His Name through faith in His Name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

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Consider with me, the might Name of Jesus; that Name that is above every name.  His is a name that embraced strong paradox.  He made Himself of no reputation, yet no reputation has ever exceeded His.  He was tempted by the devil in all points just as we are, yet never yielded to a single temptation.  He never committed a single sin, yet He became sin for us so we could be made the righteousness of God in Him.  Nothing could shake His peace, yet the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.  No sickness or disease could even affect Him, yet He bore our sickness and disease in His body for by His stripes we were healed.  He was complete royalty living as a commoner, yet with access to the most supernatural of powers and benefits.  No man could take His life, yet He laid it down willingly, only to take it up again at a time of His Own choosing.  All that and more is found in the Name of Jesus.

Let us consider this further by seeing who He was in Bibilical literature.  In the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) He is the Order Maker and Law Giver.  In the historical books (Joshua through Esther) He is the recorded history of His people.  In the poetic books (Job through the Song of Solomon) He is the revelation of the divine in oil colors and song.  Through the major prophets (Isaiah through Daniel) we find Him to be the protracted prophetic revelations of Him with Whom we have to do.  In the minor prophets (Hosea through Malachi) He is the abbreviated prophetic revelations, the fine details of His revelation.  Coming to the Gospels (Matthew through John) He is the Word made flesh in His earthly ministry; a clear revelation of Father’s image.  In the book of Acts He is the birth of the church, His body in the earth, and its formative days.  Through the Pauline Epistle (Romans through Hebrews) He is the Pauline revelation of redemption and our walk in the Spirit.  In the General Epistles (James through Jude) He is the full color, three dimensional, broadened and expanded revelation of the risen, living Lord.  And in Revelation, the close of the Book, He is that which was, and which is, and which is to come. 

There is so much more we could right of Him, but space her prohibits that writing.  Still, a volume remains of His Name and faith in that Name.  Let us fill our lives, our ears, our eyes, and our mouths with the resounding, clarion call of that Name – the Name of Jesus.

Manna for Today – Acts 3:11-26; John 14:12-14; John 16:23

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What Makes You Marvel?

Do we marvel at the right things? 

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Acts 3:12 – And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

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In our Text for Today, we see what happened when the lame man at the gate Beautiful was healed by the power of God.  He went, along with Peter and John, into the temple, doing what he had never been able to do; he was “walking, and leaping, and praising God.”   What he was doing, and the fact that the onlookers marveled gives pause for some deeper thought.  Understanding that the onlookers were of the world makes their marveling understandable.  But Peter was not of the world.  Though still a babe in Christ, Peter was a son and heir of God, joint-heir with Christ, and an ambassador for Christ.  It was from his different perspective that he questioned the “men of Israel.”

Let me ask you the same questions?  Why, when we see a might work of the Lord in our midst, in a church service, via a televised ministry, or reported in some form of print or social media, do we marvel?  Do we not know Who our God is?  Do we not realize His power, both in authority and ability?  I am fully convinced that the reason we marvel at such things is that we do not give full credence to the Word of the living God.  We KNOW according to His Word that He is fully able to perform all He has ever done, and beyond that, all we can truly believe, according to His Word, that He can do.  But we must go well beyond believing He CAN.  We MUST believe that He WILL

So, at what should the believer marvel?  I believe the answer is simple.  As a believer, I don’t marvel at what our God can and does do.  This is in no way an attitude of disrespect or dishonor.  However, He IS God.  Get that settled in your heart and mind right now.  He IS God, and He can and will do what God can and will do.  There is no need to marvel at that, though we SHOULD at all times be thankful and bless His Name.  Nor do I marvel at anything I do, for I know that in and of myself, I can do nothing, especially as it relates to the things of God.  There is, however, something at which I marvel continually.  And that is that God would use me.  I know who I am in Christ, for it is in and by Christ that I am a child of God, and according to His Word, I am holy.  But that God would pour Himself INTO and UPON human flesh in order to accomplish His divine will; salvation to the lost, Holy Ghost baptism, healing, deliverance, the miraculous….now that, my friend, is marvelous indeed.  And marvel at it, I DO

Manna for Today – Acts 3:11-26; Acts 3:1-10; Zechariah 3:7-10; Matthew 8:10; Luke 7:9

No Time for Hiding

There may have been a time to keep some things Jesus did hidden, but not any longer.

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Acts 3:10 – And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.

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When Jesus walked in the earth fulfilling His earthly ministry, He did signs and wonders too numerous to tell.  Some He did in public, and some He did in private.  There were mighty manifestations of Holy Spirit upon Jesus, some in public (Holy Spirit coming on Him at His baptism), some in an exclusive setting (the events at His transfiguration).  When things were done in the public setting, Jesus let them stand as they happened.  But often, in the private arena, Jesus would say to those who had received, or even to His disciples, to tell no one.  He was aware that many desired to take Him and make Him king over Israel immediately, and Jesus knew that such must not be allowed to happen. 

But AFTER His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, things changed.  Now it was time to proclaim the Gospel; to declare the things they had both seen and heard.  And so, it was with the healing of the lame man at the gate Beautiful.  This was both a public event, and a powerful public witness.  Look at our Text for Today.  When the people who were witnessing what was happening realized that the man who was “walking, and leaping, and praising God” was the man who had begged alms at the gate Beautiful every day, they were “filled with wonder and amazement.” 

Today, in our churches, we often minister to the sick and afflicted.  I know that many are healed and delivered, and that miracles still occur.  For that I am thankful.  But a problem arises there for the church.  We see it IN the church house, but it is not witnessed IN THE GATES.  We may rejoice in the church service, but there is no rejoicing in the streets and marketplaces.  Yes, I realize that when the man first leaped up, he entered the temple, but our Text for Today does not say that was the only place people recognized him as the former lame man. 

My point is simple.  It is long past time that the working of Holy Spirit should be clearly and regularly witnessed OUTSIDE the church house.  It’s good to be bold in the pulpit or the Sunday school class, but we need that same boldness, if not greater, on the street, in the marketplace, at the restaurant, and in our own homes.  Forces from all directions have been quite successful and stripping holy boldness from the Church.  It’s time we took it back, and have done all to stand, TO STAND!

Manna for Today – Acts 3:1-10; Matthew 8:4 & 16:20; Mark 7:36 & 9:9; Mark 16:15-20; Acts 4:20;     Acts 22:15; 1 John 1:3; Ephesians 6:10-18

Faith On Both Ends

Faith works but when agreement is added, it can work even faster.

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Acts 3:8 – And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

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Faith works.  It’s that simple.  I’m speaking of the God kind of faith; faith that moves mountains.  But more importantly, faith that God honors.  We have ample Scriptural references to the ability of faith, the manner in which faith works, and the fact that God honors faith, even if it is faith utilized and released by a single believer.  Mark 11:22-24 is likely the paramount reference to the ability one person has in Christ when he/she uses the God-kind of faith.

One of the things that makes the work of faith so exciting and enjoyable is what happens when two or more people join their faith together to please the Lord.  There, my friend, even if one has a moment of weakness, the other can help keep that one lifted up in faith.  The power of agreement as described in Matthew 18 is phenomenal.  Look at it.  “Where two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”  What a powerful, wonderful, and joyous promise of the Father to His people!

And in a manner of speaking, that is what we see in our Text for Today.  Look closely at the words.  After Peter had spoken, and after he had taken the man by the hand and lifted him up, something truly powerful and supernatural happened.  I am convinced that prior to Peter lifting the man up, the man really didn’t have faith to procure his healing.  I believe that came through the manifestation of one of the gifts of the Spirit, either a gift of healing or a gift of working of miracles.  But I find it fascinating that in our Text for Today we read, “And he (that is the man who was lame) leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”  It wasn’t Peter who “leaped up;”  it wasn’t Peter who “stood;” it wasn’t Peter who “walked” (thought he and John DID walk, enter, and praise); it was the man who had been lame.  At some point, he had to join himself in faith to that which Peter had delivered to him.  He had to accept it.  And having accepted it, he acted upon it.  I am sure the man would have received that which Peter delivered to him so boldly.  At the same time, I am sure that the man who had been lame brought a powerful accent of witness that created powerful amazement in the onlookers.  At some point, the man who was lame added his faith to the mix, and look at the result.  Faith works.  It’s that simple.  But when you have faith on both ends, the power of that witness can be magnified.

Manna for Today – Acts 3:1-10; Mark 11:22-24; Matthew 18:19-20; John 15:7; John 16:23

Bold Faith

Living faith is alive, and in that life is a boldness that only comes from the Lord.

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Acts 3:7 – And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

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For some days now, we have been talking about boldness, and in particular, boldness in its direct connection to faith.  We have seen that true boldness is a living entity, arising from the God kind of faith.  It is neither brash nor timid, but strong in standing.  Today we examine this remarkable force further.  Look at our Text for Today.  In this particular instance of the performance of boldness arising from the God kind of faith, we witness boldness in the work of bringing someone to the place of being ready to receive from God.  And when that boldness had set the stage by both word and action for the lame man to receive, it entered into the next step without hesitation. 

What a joy it is to see the boldness of faith take action, and in our Text for Today, we see one of its most vivid examples.  Peter took the lame man by the “right hand and lifted.”  Note in our Text for Today that the words “him up” are in italics, meaning the translators added them for clarity.  They certainly do not distract from what happened, but the key action words in this work of the boldness of faith are “took” and “lifted.”  Matthew tells us that regarding the work of the kingdom, that “the violent take it by force.”  This is not talking about carnal weapons or actions, but by spiritual ones.  Still, we must always remember that when spiritual actions are taken, corresponding physical actions must be taken.  Because these actions are taken in proper response to faith, they are not carnal actions, but spiritual ones, even though physical action is involved.  That is what happened in our Text for Today

We know that the love of God is clearly defined as keeping His commandments.  We know that faith works by love.  From this truth we can easily see that the God kind of faith and love REQUIRES physical response on our part.  It is the “works” that demonstrate “faith.”  And it requires boldness.  We see it clearly in our Text for Today.  After faith was released, work was required.  So, Peter “took” the man by the hand, and having taken him by the hand, he “lifted” the man up.  Peter did NOT ask for the man’s hand; he TOOK it.  Nor did Peter ask what the man felt like doing; he LIFTED him up.  That’s what faith does.  It TAKES hold of what needs to be done, and it DOES it.  Oh, and allow me to state it very clearly once more; faith does it BOLDLY.

Manna for Today – Acts 3:1-10; James 2:20-26; Matthew 11:12; John 14:12-17

The Character of Boldness

True boldness has life in it, and in that life is character.

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Acts 3:6 – Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

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True boldness is a living thing.  While it is not mentioned as such as a part of the fruit of the spirit, it is surely an element of the life of God that is manifest in His Church.  This living thing we call boldness takes action in and through our lives.  That is what we examine today.  Look first at our Text for Today.  This scenario began with the beauty of boldness shining forth.  Peter and John had come to the temple via the gate Beautiful for prayer time. When they stopped where the lame man was laid, they had purpose.  Their stop was intentional.  True boldness is always intentional – never accidental.  They stopped to do something specific.  That was boldness stopping.

Peter spoke; “Look on us.”  That was boldness speaking to get attention; to create focus.  We know it was boldness because of what followed those three powerful words.  Without shouting, without demonstrating, without the media being present, and without a pre-established agenda, Peter’s words got the attention of the intended person in need.

Now look at Peter’s follow-up statement.  “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee.”  That is boldness serving notice of intent.  Now we can see the intention of their stopping at the gate Beautiful.  Note once again, the intent of this boldness.  Peter was stating that he wanted to GIVE something to the lame man.

And then the next statement gives perfect clarity of what was contained in the intent.  Read it for yourself; “In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth rise up and walk.”  This is boldness in the act of giving.  But please not what this boldness was giving.  It was not aggressive, nor was it apathetic.  It was not brash, nor did it back down.  Rather, it was good, refreshing, uplifting, encouraging, life-giving, restorative, and loving.  That is the nature of true boldness.  Don’t mistake boldness look-alikes for the real thing.  Brashness pushes, but will pull back when it meets courageous boldness.  Boldness simply stands in truth, unmoving, unwavering, unfailing.  True boldness is not about being self-confident, but in being God-confident.  True boldness is God-centered, God-originated, God inspired, and God-sustained.  May the Lord grant this boldness to His Church at this hour.  Oh, how we need it!

Manna for Today – Acts 3:1-10; John 3:16-17; Mark 10:29-30; Luke 6:38; Malachi 3:6-10

Boldness Inspires

Think about it . . . what does timidity inspire?

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Acts 3:4-5 – And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.  And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

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The Scriptures declare, “A soft answer turns away wrath.”  But it has never said, “A timid answer turns away wrath.”  There is a vast difference between the two.  The ability to be soft (tender or kind) never arises from a state of weakness, lack of knowledge, fear, or timidity.  The true ability to be soft (tender or kind) always arises from place of strength, knowledge of the truth, faith, and boldness.  And such boldness, if indeed it is truly boldness is filled with strength, knowledge and faith.

I have witnessed soft answers handle heavy situations when the answer arose from a position of boldness I have described.  I have likewise heard loud answers, hard answers, even harsh and clever answers that simply crumbled under any true pressure, because the loudness, hardness, harshness, or cleverness were only masks attempting to hide timidity. 

Look once again at our Text for Today.  Peter and James had passed this way before.  But on this occasion they stopped, and Peter spoke.  At the beginning, he spoke three words; “Look on us.”  That’s all.  But there was something about the manner in which those words were spoken that evoked the initial response from the lame man.  When Peter spoke, the lame man “gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.”  I am convinced that “something” was holy boldness.  Peter and John were strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Peter spoke from knowledge of having been with the Master.  Peter spoke in faith; a fully active obedience to the command of the Lord, being obedient to His Word by which faith had come.  Peter and John were two men filled with holy boldness.  I don’t believe Peter shouted or raised his voice.  I don’t believe Peter spoke brashly or harshly.  And the words Peter spoke certainly do not belie any cleverness to deceive.  But there WAS BOLDNESS

It was boldness that got the lame man’s attention.  It was boldness that held his attention.  And it was boldness that directed his attention towards something beyond the ordinary.  Money would have been okay, but it was not money he received.  A kind word may have been appreciated, but it was not a kind word he received.  What he received was the presence of Holy Ghost, a word from the Lord, the flowing of the power of God, and a miracle in his body.  But without the boldness that grabbed and held his attention, and that prepared him to act in faith when he heard the words to “rise up and walk,” would he have had his life so dramatically changed?  Boldness inspires, and we still need that same kind of boldness today.

Manna for Today – Acts 3:1-10; Proverbs 15:1; Proverbs 29:8; Romans 10:17

Attention Understood

God does not intend for His people to stumble into His blessings and promises.  We need to be focused.

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Acts 3:4-5 – And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.  And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

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Do you believe the Bible?  I do!  If you believe the Bible, then you must believe that YOU ARE who it says you are, that YOU CAN DO what it says you can do, and that YOU HAVE and CAN HAVE what is says you have and can have.  It’s that simple.  Again, I ask, do you believe the Bible?

Doing what the Bible calls upon us to do, especially in the arena of ministry to others, calls for great exertion in sacrifice, compassion, and boldness.  As I have traveled in more recent years, I am happy to say that I still observe great exertion in sacrifice and compassion.  These are still two powerful motivators present in many men and women of God, and can be so clearly seen in their faithfulness to their calling.  But unfortunately, I cannot report the same in the arena of boldness.

In this present age, political and social correctness seems to have superseded necessary boldness for sustaining the purpose, power, and principle required for forward movement in life.  Sin is called a mistake.  Bad is acceptable and we are called upon to understand it for the sake of humanity, and after a time, bad is even called expedient and good.  Consider the abortion issue as it is presently creeping across the banners of television newsrooms.  Abortion is murder; it is now and always has been.  And we have been on that slippery slope, in many respects without strong public challenge from the Church, until we presently are hearing that abortion is a social right, even up to and beyond the point of birth.  Once again, it is murder.  Use any other nomenclature you desire – abortion is murder.

It took great boldness for Peter to say, “Look on us.”  It still takes great boldness.  Sadly, boldness of that magnitude is rare.  Quoting Philippians 4:13, even when it is set within absolutely correct doctrinal guide-lines, takes extreme boldness today.  Leonard Ravenhill said, “Today’s Christian experience is so sub-normal that a normal New Testament experience would seem abnormal.”  Oh, how sad it is that his state- ment is so accurate.  You ARE the righteousness of God in Christ, NOT an old sinner saved by grace.  You ARE the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath.  You CAN do all things through Christ which strengthens you, and when that statement is made within the guidelines of anointing, there should be ho shyness in stating it.  The boldness of which I write attracts attention.  It calls for onlookers to gaze for the purpose of seeing something meaningful.  It speaks boldly, acts boldly, lives boldly, and expects boldly.  Oh Father, I ask You, restore Your boldness to Your Church, in Jesus’ Name.

Manna for Today – Acts 3:1-10; Joshua 1:6-9; Proverbs 4:20-23; Philippians 4:8; Matthew 12:34-37; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; John 16:23; Matthew 18:19-20

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It Requires Attention

When I see my doctor, I focus on him AND the tools/methods he uses.  Healing requires focus.

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Acts 3:4-5 – And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.  And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

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In today’s church world, I am hearing the oft-asked question, “Why don’t we see mighty moves of God like we see in the Bible?”  Yes, I know, in some Christian circles we ARE seeing great manifestations of the power of God in miracles, healings, signs, and wonders.  However, it’s not enough to talk about what’s happening somewhere else in the body of Christ. I don’t know about you, but I want to see manifestations of God’s power everywhere I go.  I’m glad other people are witnessing them, but I want to witness them myself, and in a manner that truly honors the Lord and makes them available to all those around me.

I cannot tell you that what I write here is the sole answer to that matter, but I am thoroughly convinced that it DOES INDEED play a major role.  Read our Text for Today once more.  We know the story.  Peter spoke to the lame man at the gate beautiful, the man was healed, and as the Word declares, he entered the temple, “walking and leaping and praising God.”  But there are three words in our Text for Today that I believe are key to this healing work.  Peter called for, in fact, demanded someone’s attention.  He said to the lame man, “Look on us.”  We read further that the man did look on them, and did so expecting to receive something.

My query is this.  Have we, the people of God, and especially those of us in five-fold ministry, become to shy, so backward, perhaps even pathetic in our faith in God’s Word, that we fail to exercise this same boldness Peter exercised at the gate Beautiful?  Make not mistake about it.  Peter used the Name of Jesus, and later acknowledged that it was belief in and faith in that Name that brought the lame man to wholeness.  We MUST NEVER let that escape our thinking.  But he only used the Name of Jesus AFTER he got the man’s attention.  God used men and women throughout the Old Testament to do His bidding.  He continued that work in Jesus in His earthly ministry.  And still today that pattern continues, but with greater power.  NOW, we are sons of God, heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ, able ministers of the NEW Covenant, and ambassadors of Christ.  We are called upon and commanded to not only do all the works Jesus did, but greater.  I see the Church, in large part, failing in this arena.  Once again I ask, could it be that we are failing to “get the attention” of those in need, not only on Jesus, but on us, too?  It’s YOUR light that is to shine.  YOU are NOW the light of the world.  Shine, my friend; people need to have their attention drawn to both the source (Jesus) AND the channel (you).

Manna for Today – Acts 3:1-10; Joshua 1:6-9; Proverbs 4:20-23; Philippians 4:8; Matthew 12:34-37; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; John 16:23; Matthew 18:19-20

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Distraction or Divine Appointment

When you’re fully prepared, distractions become opportunities.

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Acts 3:1-3 – Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.  And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.

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Think about the location of the events of our Text for Today.  It was at the temple gate called Beautiful.  The week prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus had entered here every day.  The lame man in our Text for Today was laid there daily.  Now it might appear that Jesus walked by him every day, but this is not necessarily so.  It was the “ninth” hour of the day.  That would be about 3:00 PM, but Jesus always entered in the morning.  It is likely that when Jesus came daily to the temple, the man was not there yet.   

But consider the scene in our Text for Today.  Why were the disciples coming to the temple?  They were coming to pray.  Now consider this; who was it that had afflicted the man lame man?  If we believe John 10:10, we would say “Satan.”  Had Satan caused the lame man to be laid there to receive his healing, or was he placed there to be a distraction for those entering for prayer?  Remember, he was laid there daily.  Prayer time came daily, and so did those who came to pray.  Each day was an opportunity to get some money from those entering the temple.  Now don’t misunderstand me.  God’s will is to heal, but how many people use their ailments (sometimes even false ailments) to get sympathy, attention, and even material things from those who might have pity on them.  In no way am I saying this was the case for the lame man. But the fact is, he was placed there daily and had never received any productive ministry.  This is my question.  While his need was genuine, and perhaps even his desire was genuine, could it be that the enemy was using his lameness as a distraction towards those who came to pray?  I am convinced we see this in great volume from week to week in our churches; many people needing healing, desiring healing, but not receiving their healing.  Is it possible the enemy is using these dear people as distractions to keep others from fully engaging the work of the hour?  Prayer and ministry of the Word?

PLEASE!  Understand that I am in no way ascribing blame to those in need.  Rather I am attempting to draw the attention of those of us who come be ministering to them.  WHAT IF?  What if those who should be engaged in ministry were spiritually prepared to face that healing need with what is truly needed?  HEALING!  Let us not be distracted by the image of the need, but rather let us be focused on Him Who meets that need, the Healer, the Deliverer, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  If we are ready, distractions could be turned into divine appointments.

Manna for Today – Acts 3:1-10; Romans 8:26-29; Philippians 4:13; Luke 1:37; Mark 16:15-20