According to Your Faith

It’s not just any faith, but your faith, that makes a great difference.

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Matthew 9:29 – Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

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Take a moment and consider as many of the works of Jesus during His earthly ministry as you can recall.  How often did Jesus attribute the work He did to the faith of the person on whom the work was performed?  This was the case with many of His miracles and healings.  He healed the Roman centurion’s servant when He marveled at the centurion’s faith being unlike anything He had seen in Israel.  To the woman with the issue of blood, to blind Bartimaeus, and the blind men in our Text for Today, He laid the account to the faith they brought to the point of their need.  His words in our Text for Today, “According to your faith be it unto you,” are some of the most powerful words ever spoken.  And since Jesus and His Word never changes, the proper application of faith will work for every child of God in the New Covenant, and carries the potential to do even more.

In each of the referenced incidents above, the faith one exercised toward the Lord and His Covenant Word had direct impact on the results from the exercise of that faith.  Many believers today practice a walk with the Lord that absolves them of all responsibility.  You will hear them add to whatever prayer they pray, “if it be Thy divine will.”  My dear friend, for the vast majority of the prayers one can pray, such a statement is a waste of time, an indicator that the person praying is not exercising faith, and likely has little or no knowledge of the will of God in the matter.  Allow me to ask a question.  Do you have a Bible?  If you do, you have a copy of the will of God for almost everything you could ever need in life.  The Scriptures state very clearly the will of God for one’s salvation, for healing, for deliverance, for provision and prosperity, and for victory in life for you and every member of your family.  Yes, there are some things the Bible does not set forth specifically concerning Father’s will for your life.  For instance, the Bible does tell you who to marry, where to live, or the color of car you should buy.  But even in those arenas, you are given certain guidelines to help you make your own choice.  But in all that, do not make the mistake that you can live without the possession, use, and execution of faith.  The Scriptures are plain.  “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”  It is your faith that pleases God, moves mountains, uproots trees, and opens the way for miracles, healing, deliverance, and provision.  In those areas you should know that it is always “according to your faith;” or somebody’s faith.

Manna for Today – Matthew 9:27-31; Mark 5:34; Mark 10:52; Matthew 8:10-13; Romans 10:17;        Hebrews 1:1 & 6; John 14:12-14

He Will and He Can

Some believe He will. Some believe He can.  Those who believe both are the ones who will stand.

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Matthew 9:28 – And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.

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For most of the years of my life and ministry, I believe that the vast majority of Christians believed that God could heal.  At the same time, I am not sure most Christians believe that He would heal.  Of course, throughout the church age, there has been a certain number of Christians that not only believed God could heal, but that He also would heal.  And while I pray it is not happening, there are times I wonder about the present age of Christians that are being produced in many churches.  I am encountering more and more young Christians who absolutely declare that it is the will of God to heal, but for whatever the cause, seem not to have a firm grasp on and belief in His ability to heal.  They declare Jehovah to be a God of love and great grace, but seem to lack the boldness to make a sure and firm declaration of Father’s ability to completely fulfill whatever His Word says.

In our Text for Today, I see an interesting parallel to what I see in our time.  It would appear from their approach to Jesus, that the blind men in question fully believed that Jesus would heal them.  The only question in Jesus’s mind was whether the believed He could heal them.  But there was a day in Jesus’s earthly ministry when a leper came to Jesus seeking healing.  However, when the leper came, things were different.  He came to Jesus fulling believing that Jesus could heal him.  His question was would Jesus heal Him.  I find it interesting that the questions arose from two different directions, and the answer was required from different sources in the conversation. 

In the leper’s case, He believed Jesus could heal them, but was unsure if He would, so it was the leper who asked the question and Jesus Who answered, and acted on faith.  In the case of the two blind men, they believed Jesus would, but left Jesus looking for the answer as to whether they truly believed He could heal them.  So, in this case, it was Jesus Who asked the question, and acted on faith.  In both cases, as it still is today, Jesus works to open the door for faith to shine, and when it does, He acts upon that faith for the good of the person in need.  So, my friend, be encouraged in your faith today.  Jesus will, and Jesus can, and those that believe that shall stand.

Manna for Today – Matthew 9:27-31; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; Matthew 8:1-4

Handling Trouble – Part 6

A key element to handling trouble is the removal of strife.

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Mark 5:40 – And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.

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In the events we have examined around the day referenced in our Text for Today, Jesus’s encounter in the home of Jairus was apparently the final hurdle of trouble He had to face that day.  Having arrived at the home of Jairus, Jesus refused to give death precedent over life.  His words were words of life.   He commented, “Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.”  At  that point, our Text for Today declares that they “laughed Him to scorn.”  This was an atmosphere for breeding strife, raising contention, and stopping the work of faith.  Because of their reaction to His words, Jesus put them out of the house.  (Once again, I mention here; can you imagine the potential encounter between a crowd that had just seen a miracle with those who laughed at the work and words of Jesus?)  But having removed the doubt, unbelief, and potential strife from the house, Jesus raised and healed the child.

Allow me an observation here.  Strife is one of the most dangerous conditions that can afflict a believer.  It is likewise one of the most poisonous atmospheres in which faith can attempt to work.  If a doubleminded man can receive nothing from the Lord, neither shall a doubleminded group, congregation, of gathering of people.  Strife is a strangling killer.  It must be removed and avoided.  To that end, I offer this query.  How often, and to what degree, has the desire and work of the Lord been thwarted by an attempt to minister in at atmosphere of strife, and especially where strife has already taken root?  I am sure it is one of the primary hindrances to the church seeing God’s Word confirmed in Christian meetings and churches.

Strife was not in the Upper Room, and look what happened there.  Strife is not a part of Matthew 18:19-20, and look at the potential there.  And PLEASE take time to read 2 Timothy 2:24-26, and see the dangerous potential for a believer who has fallen into strife.  Avoid it, my friend.  The Scriptures warn us that where envy and strife is, there is also confusion and “every evil work.”  This should be something the church knows and practices well – the avoidance of strife – for strife is a carrier of “every evil work,” and all they bring with them.  Always remember, “the servant of the Lord must not strive.”  Here is a command with urgency.  Learn it, observe it, and live by it that the power of God be not thwarted in and through your life.

Manna for Today – Mark 5:22-43; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Matthew 18:19-20; James 3:16

Handling Trouble – Part 5

If you can see it coming, don’t wait until it’s in your face to deal with it.

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Mark 5:24, 31, & 40 – And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.   And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?   And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.

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In the scenario from which our Text for Today comes, the potential for problems, for trouble, for misunderstanding was rampant.  Jesus certainly recognized it, and because of that, He made decisions that thwarted situations that could have greatly hindered, or even stopped the flow of the power of God.  Yesterday we saw how potential trouble seemed to be handled so easily on the street where Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood.  Remember the potential conflict there; an unclean woman with an issue of blood; potential for stoning; she is delaying a leader in the synagogue; the crowd is pressing; some looking for a way to fault Jesus.  Just imagine the potential chaos.

But let’s look further.  As this part of the scene was unfolded, Jairus was informed that his daughter was dead.  Remember, Jesus was surely delayed by the woman.  But Jesus comforts and encourages Jairus to, “Be not afraid; only believe.”  Jesus knows He will now be entering a house where mourners are weeping loudly.  The people in the house are looking into the face of death.  Should He allow the crowd that has just seen a noted miracle to come with Him to the house?  What would that outcome be?  The potential for conflict was high.  So instead of allowing the entire crowd to follow Him, He went into prevention mode.  He only took three of his disciples with Him to the house of Jairus.  He left the other nine in the street to control the crowd, to keep them at some distance, and to prevent people whose emotions are high from a confrontation with people whose emotions were, to some degree, crushed at the death of a child.

But there is more.  When Jesus arrives at the house of Jairus, He said, “Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.”  When He said that, those in the house mocked Him.  Can you see the potential conflict between them and those on the street who had just seen a miracle?  It was at that point that Jesus had to push the envelope even more.  He had to remove the doubt and unbelief so faith would have a clear path in which to operate, so He had the three disciples with Him to put out the scorners.  This entire scenario in Mark 5:22-43 if thickly laced with potential conflict, strife, and trouble.  But Jesus handled it for He was prepared for it.  Prepare yourself.  Trouble is waiting.

Manna for Today – Mark 5:22-43; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; 1 Corinthians 1:10

Handling Trouble – Part 1

My dad used to say, “Troubles are like grapes; they so often come in bunches.”

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Mark 5:35 – While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?

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Before you go any further, I encourage you to read the full Mark 5 passage in our Manna for Today.  When you do, you will quickly see that Jesus was dealing with a number of problematic issues at the same time.  Consider the following.  After delivering the demoniac of Gadara, the people asked Him to leave their country.  They did not like what He did there.  Upon His arrival back to Capernaum, he is almost immediately confronted by a ruler of the synagogue whose daughter was grievously ill.  Jesus complies with the request to help Jairus, and quickly finds Himself pressed on every side by an enormous crowd (a potential breeding ground for trouble).  With the crowd pressing Him, He perceives that virtue (power) has suddenly been drawn from Him, and He has the encounter with the woman with the issue of blood.  In that situation are numerous potentially troublesome issues. 

  • The woman with the issue of blood is unclean – potential violence, even stoning of the woman by the crowd.
  • Anyone she touches is immediately unclean; she deliberately pressed through the crowd, touching many people, possibly some of the disciples who were all about Jesus, and finally, Jesus Himself.
  • All of this is brought to the attention of the crowd as Jesus deals with it openly.
  • There is the need for amazing crowd control for a number of issues; among them, Jesus is delayed in reaching Jairus’s daughter, the crowd could react to being contaminated, the disciples had to make enough room about Jesus for the woman, Jairus, and the servant of Jairus to come together in the middle of the crowd.
  • The crowd witnessed the miracle of the woman being healed.  What will happen if the mourners at Jairus’s house, in their unbelief and laughter at Jesus, encounter people from the crowd who have just witnessed a miracle?

All these potential problems, conflicts, and troublesome issues have converged on this single small porthole of time.  But Jesus was in no way troubled.  He remained unflappable, calm, steady, and fixed on His mission at the moment.  He had been sent to heal, and He was actively engaging His anointing in that purpose to please His Father.

How about the church today?  Are we going to allow the multitude of circumstances that seem to be crashing in upon us to pull of from the work of our anointing?  Will we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed?  Will we react in a frustrated manner?  Many are the problems, conflicts and issues we face today.  Our God has not changed.  He still remains El Shaddai, the God Who is more than enough, and our Lord Who is above all.

Manna for Today – Mark 5:22-43; Romans 10:13; Mark 11:22-24; John 15:7; Luke 1:37; Philippians 4:19

She Received – Element Five

There is a purpose for following the ordered steps of the Lord.  It is to receive what He wants to impart.

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Mark 5:29 & 34 – And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. —– And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

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Have you ever prayed for something, knowing what you asked was according to the Scriptures, and have not received it?  Be honest with yourself.  No one hears you but you and the Lord.  If the answer is “yes,” could it be it is because you didn’t follow the prescribed steps in your journey to the point of manifestation?  Just a thought.

Had the woman with the issue of blood not followed the steps delineated before her, I don’t believe she would have received either.  Was it God’s will to heal her?  Absolutely!  But what if she had not heard?  What if she had not spoken, but just waited for the Lord’s will to be done?  What if she had not sought out the Lord’s whereabouts, and when she might be able to encounter Him?  What if she had pulled back from her desire because she was afraid of what religious minded people might do to her?  But each of these questions is, in fact, a moot point.  For she DID hear.  She DID say.  She DID seek Him.  She DID act.  And finally, she DID receive that for which she came.

What is it you need from the Lord today?  What is it for which you have asked Him, but have not yet seen it manifest?  Have you carried out His prescription of steps so each element in the process of receiving your need is in place?  No, I’m not saying that there are not times when things happen suddenly, with no apparent steps or process that can be seen.  Indeed, there are.  But so often in life, outcome is the result of process, and this is true, even in the spiritual realm.  When you read words the Lord Himself has spoken, you often see the word “if.”  When you see the word “if,” there is almost always process between need and provision.  2 Chronicles 7:14 and John 15:7 are prime examples of this truth.

For the woman in our Text for Today, her entry into this faith process also required following through with the process so she could come to the desired end of the process.  For her, the end of the process was the complete manifestation of her healing.  And because she carried out that process, she came to her desired conclusion.  She was made whole.  And it was her faith that made her whole.

Manna for Today – Mark 5:25-34; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:1 & 6; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; Matthew 12:34-37; Romans 3:4; James 2:20-26; 1 John 5:14-15

She Acted – Element Four

Faith requires corresponding actions to demonstrate life.

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Mark 5:27 – When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

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It has been said that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.  That is a true statement, and sadly, some form of that statement could be the epitaph on far too many tombstones and grave markers around the world.  I have heard it said that graveyards are filled with great ideas and untold fortunes because the people buried there never acted on their ideas and dreams.  It seems that in the final analysis of life, if you really want something, YOU MUST TAKE ACTION!

That is what the woman in our Text for Today did.  She acted.  This was the fourth element in her journey to healing and health.  Element One – she heard.  Element Two – she said.  Element Three – she sought.  Element Four – she acted.  She heard of Jesus, what He was able to do, and that He was nearby.  She said that if she could touch His clothes, she would be healed (she established the parameters with her faith by which she would receive her healing).  She went forth seeking to complete that goal she had set for herself – to touch His clothes – and refused to be deterred by her condition, her lack, the crowds, and even the Law.  And when she came very close to her point of encounter, SHE ACTED; she pushed through the crowd, defying Law and physical resistance, and she touched His clothes.  She had taken all the action she could.

And it was the collective of these elements that made possible the fifth element.  She heard – faith received.  She said – faith formulated.  She sought – faith positioned.  She acted – faith worked.  This was her corresponding action that demonstrated the living status of her faith in God. 

What need is in your life today?  I can assure you that Jesus can handle it with no problem at all.  He IS Lord!  Now you’ve heard.  Next, what will you say to formulate the action plan for your faith?  Is there sin that needs to be confessed, forgiveness that needs to be released, something you know you must do to position yourself to receive you need met by the hand of the Lord?  SPEAK your faith.  It is in your speaking that you formulate your route to receiving.  Seek the position you describe.  Where, in your action and obedience, will you find the release point of the power of God in your behalf?  And when you find that release point, that position, ACT!  Don’t delay, don’t postpone, don’t rethink it, don’t start to doubt; ACT!  What comes next will become your testimony, thrill your heart, and establish you as victor, not victim.

Manna for Today – Mark 5:25-34; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:1 & 6; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; Matthew 12:34-37; Romans 3:4; James 2:20-26

She Sought – Element Three

Are you willing to go where He is to receive what you need or desire?

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Mark 5:27 – When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

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The Word of God says, “Seek and you shall find.”  I believe that.  He tells us to “seek” His face.  I believe we should. He tells us to come to the throne of grace to “find grace to help in the time of need.  The fact that one must “find” such grace indicates clearly the act of seeking.  Remember, once again, “seek and you shall find.”  Now let us consider the situation in which the woman with the issue of blood found herself.  He had heard of Jesus (element one).  She had established her faith in Who Jesus was and what He could do by speaking (element two).  Now we come to element three.  She took the time and expended the energy to seek for Jesus. 

In her day, there was not mass communication or media networks.  She did not have social media.  She had to learn where Jesus was going to be, when He would be there, and by what route He might travel.  Suppose she could not determine where He would be; or that she had no idea when He would be there; or that she chose wrongly concerning His route of travel.  She would have missed her healing.  For that reason, she had to expend her energy and any resources she may have had to determine where she could “connect” with Jesus. 

Now consider the following.  After she had discovered the information that would bring her to Jesus, she had yet greater obstacles to overcome.  With her issue of blood, she was considered unclean.  To go out in public could lead to her being stoned to death.  Yet that is precisely what she had to do.  She was sick; still she sought Him.  She was suffering; still she sought Him.  She was financially bereft; still she sought Him.  She was considered unclean; still she sought Him.  If caught, she could be stoned to death; still she sought Him.  The public crown around Jesus was enormous…shoulder to shoulder; still she sought Him.  Through personal struggle, personal cost, and potential danger, she sought Him.

And for her seeking, she was rewarded.  She found Him.  She touched Him.  She was healed by Him.  She was confronted by Him.  She was comforted by Him.  And she was honored by Him through her inclusion in the Scriptures, and His words to her, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”  We’ve looked at the first three elements; she heard, she said, she sought.  But there is more.

Manna for Today – Mark 5:25-34; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:1 & 6; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; Luke 11:9-13

She Said – Element Two

Just how important are “right words?”

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She Said – Element Two

Mark 5:28 – For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

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I cannot stress enough the massive importance of the words we speak.  You will be either condemned or justified by your own words.  You can have what you say, if you believe it in your heart.  When you attend to God’s Word, it will be health to all your flesh.  The Scriptures are replete with such statements as these.  Every child of God needs to learn, live, and stress the importance of speaking right words.  Our Text for Today is an example of that.  It is about the woman with the issue of blood.  For twelve years she had suffered, only growing worse, spending all she had on useless medical services.  But after she heard that Jesus was near, things changed dramatically.  But the change did not occur because she heard, but because she spoke.  She said something to herself.  Her words were precise and direct, and her words required her to act on them.  She said, “If I may touch but His clothes, I shall be whole.”

Now it’s possible she may have acted without speaking those words, but not likely.  It is obvious she had heard of Jesus and the works He was doing.  And when she heard that He was within her reach, that it was possible for her to actually get to him, she acted on what she said.  Despite her uncleanness from the issue of blood, she exercised her courage through faith in God to overcome the problem she had faced for so long.  She took her eyes off the problem and got them on Jesus.

She heard what Jesus could do.  She heard that He was near.  Faith rose within her.  And then she spoke.  Always remember the words of Jesus, that you can have what you say if you believe in your heart, and do not doubt.  She had heard, so she believed.  And she spoke.  “If I may but touch His clothes, I shall be whole.”  This was the second element in her quest for healing, wholeness, and freedom.  She said it.

What is it you need from the Lord today?  Do you need healing, provision, deliverance, or anything His covenant provides?  Have you found it in His Word?  Are you aware that it is in His Word?  Are you aware that He is as close as His Word?  My friend, if you need it, desire it, and have heard it through His Word, then the potential for you to exercise faith in it is already present.  It’s time to say it.  Look closely.  She had heard that He could and would.  But it was her faith that determined the how and the where.  That is what she spoke.  Think!  Is it time for you to speak your how and your where?  Just a thought.

Manna for Today – Mark 5:25-34; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:1 & 6; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; Matthew 12:34-37; Romans 3:4

She Heard – Element One

The best form of advertising is still word-of-mouth.

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Mark 5:27 – When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

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The story is so familiar to most Christians.  The gist of it is, a woman with an issue of blood touches the hem of Jesus’s garment and is completely healed.  However, in this wonderful story of the healing power of Jesus, there were four key elements of the woman’s involvement that made all this possible.  Yes, I know, without any doubt, that it was Jesus Who healed her.  But without her direct participation at any of the four levels we will discuss, she would not have been the thankful recipient of that healing power.

The first element we will consider is, SHE HEARD.  Take another look at our Text for Today.  While we don’t know exactly how old she was, we do know that she had already suffered with her malady for twelve years.  We know, too, that she had spent all she had paying doctors for useless services, many of which had probably caused her even greater suffering.  All this happened BEFORE “she had heard of Jesus.”  Up to that point in time, nothing had changed for the better.  In fact, it had likely only gotten worse.  BUT!  I love that word when it applies to victory.  Before she heard of Jesus, she had only gotten worse.  BUT!  The doctors couldn’t help her.  BUT!  It’s what happened after “BUT” that made all the difference,  You see, when the word “but” is inserted into a statement, it implies that all that came before the “but” has little, if any, impact on the outcome.  The truly important part of what is being stated come AFTER the “but.”

She was sick for twelve years, placed her care in the hands of doctors for twelve years, spent all she had on doctors for twelve years, suffered under the hands of doctors for twelve years, and only got worse for twelve years …. BUT!  Do you see it?  it was when she had “heard of Jesus” that things changed.  And because things changed, she took different steps.  At that point, all the steps she took and all the suffering she endured BEFORE the “but,” meant little to nothing any longer.  All this because she “had heard of Jesus.”

We must recognize that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  Without faith, you cannot please God.  Faith moves mountains, uproots trees, feeds multitudes, turns water to wine, raises the dead, walks on water, and heals “all your diseases.”  But notice once again, FAITH COMES BY HEARING.  It does not come by praying, seeing, praising, or worshipping.  FAITH COMES BY HEARING.  And so concludes ELEMENT ONESHE HEARD.  Faith set the rules of engagement.

Manna for Today – Mark 5:25-34; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:1 & 6; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7