Sunday, November 18, 2012

More on the Bleeding Woman and Jairus

I am sooooo enjoying teaching this group of women how to read, study and dig deeper in the Word of God. I love listening to them when they “get it.” I love reading their posts on the group wall on Facebook where they post their questions and answers. I love the fact that some had to exercise self-restraint last week before diving into Luke’s version of the bleeding woman. That is exciting to see. I love to see others “get it.” I love hearing them talk about what God showed them personally about where they are in their own life and their own relationship with him. It is so stinkin’ exciting!

After studying this story in Matthew and Mark, one would wonder why even bother reading Luke’s version, right? Truth is, every time you read the story you should read it as if you’ve never read it before. Don’t assume you know the outcome. Choose a character and become that person in the story looking at the events through their eyes. As I looked studied Luke, I put myself in the place of Jairus, the daddy of the dying girl. Do you ever think that God is delaying or dawdling around in answer your prayers? Been there. Done that.

I remember a quote from one of Beth Moore’s Bible study that went along the lines – God is always right on time. He misses a few opportunities to be early, but He’s always right on time.

Jairus had just witnesses Jesus completely healing the bleeding woman and then hearing the woman’s testimony, so when the neighbor came saying to not bother the teacher…surely, his heart sank. Having just seen and heard such a wonderful miracle and wanting the same for his daughter only to have a different outcome must have for a brief moment been disheartening. I wonder if it was easy for Jairus to believe Jesus when he said, “Don’t be afraid, just believe,” or if he was thinking, “Lord, why her? Why not my daughter?” Regardless, Jairus believed. His belief, his faith in Jesus Christ is what ultimately healed his, then dead, daughter. What is harder to overcome – illness or death?

This woman and this daughter are connected to Jesus through the number 12. In the Bible number 12 has signified governing bodies – 12 tribes, 12 disciples. I’m just wondering if this was Jesus’ way to show that he governs the body and the timing of healing, timing of death and timing of life? The Bible says that worrying does not add length to our life…as a matter of fact, it does the opposite. Paul said for him to live is Christ, but to die was his gain. He was ready. No one is ever truly ready to let someone go even when we know it’s time. It just hurts too much…understatement. Ultimately, Jesus is in control whether you like it or not.

I think about the little girl. I wonder if she got to see heaven before Jesus returned her spirit to her. I wonder so many things about this girl. My guessing is that Jesus didn’t want her parents to tell what he had done to say the girl the stigmatism from being considered unclean the rest of her life, but I wonder what she did with the rest of her life. What became of her?

Just because a story ends doesn’t mean the characters within those stories didn’t have the rest of their lives to live. Jesus touches a life, and it is forever changed.

I’m sorry this is a bit rambling, but this is just where my thoughts took me while meditating on this story in Luke.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Here's My Card...Professional Mourner -- Yeah, that's not a job I want

A friend of mine’s great aunt was a born and bred Cajun. Cajuns have their own dialect, own language if you will, own culture and way of life. They have their own type of music and some of the most flavorful food your taste buds will ever have the pleasure of experiencing. I do not pretend to know everything about Cajuns because while I live in Louisiana, I live in northwest Louisiana. Really anyone from above Pineville/Alexandria area is considered a Yankee to a true Cajun. But my girlfriend tells a story of her great auntie. Her great auntie would get up every morning, drink her chicory coffee out of her demitasse cup and read the obituaries. She would read the obits to determine just how she would dress for the day. You see, her great auntie was a professional mourner. She’d attend the dirge, and she would wail and cry and moan and carry on for the deceased even though she had never spoken a word to them, never had laid eyes on them. She would attend the funeral, and she would stay for the food during the visitation. She was a regular at the funeral homes. It’s just what she did. If you’ve never seen a Cajun funeral in New Orleans, you really should. There is nothing like it. I remember seeing family and friends mourning and singing as they walked to a cemetery, and then later, I heard them coming out singing and playing music that jumped.

I know all of this sounds quite morbid, but from the first time I saw this and heard stories I’ve been curious.

We’ve been studying the story about the bleeding woman, and just like our lives and our own personal stories, her story is integrated into the life and story of another female. As a matter of fact, Jairus a local leader had gone to Jesus and asked him to come heal his daughter who was on her death bed. Jesus agreed and when Jesus was on his way, the bleeding woman touched him. Jesus was delayed, or at least if I was Jairus that’s what I would have been thinking. I’d be there tapping my foot and doing whatever I could to urge Jesus to keep moving forward to his house. Erin was a very sick baby and was in the hospital 6 times before the age of 3, and there was a doctor in the ER that incompetent – that’s the nicest way I can talk about him. It got to the point that when I was taking Erin to the hospital, I’d call her doctor, and her doctor would admit her over the phone. I’d do anything to get my daughter into a mist tint, breathing treatments and IVs.

But we don’t see that in this story. What we see is a believing father seeking out the Savior and then waiting. You don’t see Jairus interrupting the healing of the bleeding woman. You don’t read that he knocked one of the disciples out. You don’t read that Jairus kept checking his watch…lol. Once Jesus had healed the woman, Jairus receives the news that his daughter had died. Before Jairus’s emotions can kick into gear, Jesus tells Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (MK 5:36). WOW! I wonder if I were walking in Jairus’s sandals if I would have enough faith to JUST BELIEVE.

Have you ever asked yourself or said, “If Jesus would have just done _________, things would be different” or “things would be better if Jesus would have just ___________________.” Isaiah says God’s thoughts and ways are not our thoughts and ways. His thoughts and ways are so much higher than our own that we cannot comprehend. The Bible also says we only see things as if looking into a mirror dimly lit. God sees the whole picture. God knows the right timing. God know what will bring about the best outcome in the end. You JUST have to BELIEVE. How much do you trust Him? It’s easy to say that you trust him with your life until it is put to test by taking the health of a loved one.

Jairus, Jesus and a few disciples arrive at the home of Jairus, and the mourners have already started gathering like a bunch of vultures. They were wailing and carrying on. I love how the Message put it, “gossips looking for a story and neighbors bringing in casseroles.” (Sounds like they had southern Baptist back then – it’s okay to laugh here.) They were professional mourners. They knew the girl had died. That is why those people were there. And when Jesus said she was just asleep the mourners laughed. So what does Jesus do? HE PUTS THEM OUT. He put out the unbelievers. He removed them. Does that tell you anything? There are times and situations in your life that you need to remove unbelievers from your presence, from your trials because all they have to say is not what Jesus wants you to hear.

Jesus knew what was in store, but Jairus didn’t. He had to believe even when he didn’t see a way. The faith of that daddy in Jesus Christ is what restored his daughter to life. How is your faith or lack of faith affecting your children? Is it giving them life everlasting, or is it turning them away? Is your faith showing your children that we don’t live by sight and what seems obvious to man? There is more than one way to experience death…death in life and death in faith. What does your faith teach your children?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Name Change

When Erin was about 2 ½ years old, we were driving on Dean Road headed the back way to Honey and Poppar’s house when she told me very emphatically that she did not like her name. Erin wasn’t a very opinionated child like her sibling, so I have to admit it hurt my feelings a little that she didn’t like her name. I explained that I loved her name and how we came to choose her name, but she was intent on changing it. At first she wanted to change it to “G.” G was Patrick’s mom who would come and get Erin once a quarter, take her back to Mississippi and spend a whole week with her. Erin got a high concentration of undivided attention. Patrick and I would call the week after “Detox” week, but we are so grateful for those times that Erin had with Gynelle. When I pointed out to Erin that we already had a G in our family, Erin decided to settle on the name Elmo. The rest of the day we had to call her Elmo, or she wouldn’t respond.

Stay with me…I promise there is a connection.

In Mark 5, Jesus was on his way to visit a very sick little girl when he felt power leave him. He’s being pressed from every side. The crowd is almost crushing, and Jesus stops to ask who touched him. Um, hello? A mob is pressing in every direction, and Jesus wants to know who touched him. I am so right there with Peter when he feels the need to state the obvious. Bless his heart and mine.

In Mark 5:30, “At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’” He didn’t look to the left. He didn’t look to the right. He knew exactly from where the power had left him. He knew exactly who had touched him too. He was looking for her, for her face. Verse 32 said Jesus kept looking. I wonder. I wonder if their eyes met. I wonder if she had a hard time looking into his face. Why did he feel the need to call her out? Hadn’t this woman been through enough? I wonder what she felt in those few moments after being healed and then being discovered.

When she realizes she can no longer hide, she comes before Jesus trembling, falls at his feet and tells her story. Humbling. Have you ever had someone do something for you without asking, and it is something you could never do for yourself at that point in time? It is humbling. Jesus calls her daughter. Daughter. Jesus called her out, so he could have a person relationship with her, a protective relationship with her. How awesome is that?! A personal Savior wanting a personal relationship.

He also wanted her to know that it wasn’t his clothes that healed her. It was her faith in him that healed her. He wanted her to testify. He wanted her to have witnesses to her healing. Unclean no more was she, but clean – cleaner than anyone could ever make her.

What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus? What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other found I know. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

You know another reason he may have had her testify is to bring it to light. If we have been forgiven of an act, Jesus forgives us, but Satan can still try to use it against us. By bringing her situation into the light of day and confessing that while she was unclean she touched a man, Satan cannot make her feel guilty because nothing is hidden. There is nothing of which to be ashamed.

For twelve long years, this woman had bore the name Unclean, and in one healing moment, Jesus changed the negative, derogatory name to DAUGHTER. REDEEMED! Have you ever carried around a stigma? Have you ever been burdened with a label that is intentionally cruel? Have you ever tried to hide who you are because you weren’t good enough? There is a Savior who is Jesus Christ, and he so desperately want to take away your shame and replace it with the name Daughter, Child of God, Forgiven, Redeemed. Oh, thank you, Sweet Jesus!

When Jesus does something in your life, testify! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Praise him all creatures here below. Praise him heavenly host. Praise Father God, Son and Holy Ghost. I am so grateful for my name change in Jesus Christ. Are you?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Are you in a struggle? For how long? There's Hope

After reading and comparing, Matthew, Mark and Luke’s accounts of the woman who bled and after reading various translations and transliteration of these verses, I am just in awe of this poor woman. If you dig deeper, your study will lead you to Leviticus 15:19-32. Every month a woman was considered unclean during her cycle, and if she had discharge that continued longer than the normal cycle, she was considered unclean for the whole amount of time plus eight days. Then the women had to offer sacrifices to become clean. During her cycle, no one was to touch her, what she sat on, or her bed, or they would become unclean as well. This poor lady had been having a bleeding condition for TWELVE YEARS! Now, ladies, you know back in that day women didn’t have the conveniences we have today. Their duties around the home and grounds was restricted during this time, but this poor woman had an ongoing medical issue. After twelve years of dealing with this affliction, I can’t help but think she had to be anemic. She had to feel isolated and alone, ostracized and maybe neglected. Twelve years of being seen as unclean seeking help but finding none, wanting healing but becoming destitute without medical success. If you have friends and family members who stick around for twelve years of hardship, count yourself blessed.

                      I’m wondering if this woman had that kind of support.

                               I’m wondering if she becomes reclusive tired of telling her story over and over again.

                                    I’m wondering if her social skills are lacking because she hasn’t had   social interaction with people because she is unclean.
Instead of wearing the Scarlett Letter A,
she wears the Scarlett Letter U – Unclean.

In Matthew’s story, the woman approaches Jesus from behind. Timidity and lack of social interaction, could she not face Jesus straight on? Did she fear making Jesus unclean by her touch?

Put yourself in her shoes. She is pushing and shoving her way through a sea of humanity. People are clammering to get a good look at Jesus, to be near him. She worms her way forward. She’s getting closer. She reaches out her hand. Twelve years she has tried everything under the sun. She had followed every doctors’ orders. She has tried every old wives’ tale and piece of advice she received, and here she is pushing her way through to Jesus. After twelve years, THIS WOMAN STILL HAS HOPE! Don’t you know that over the past twelve years her hopes have been dashed too many times to count? Don’t you know that over the past twelve years people have told her to give up? But here she is struggling to get to him, struggling to reach him. She puts out her hand. She can almost reach the Savior. Can you feel the anxiety and energy that she must have been feeling?

                         She’s reaching.
                                  She’s straining, and then she feels it.
                                            She has touched the garment of the Savior!


I’m just telling you right now, if I were her I’d stop dead in my tracks and bawl like a baby. Having struggled with infertility and enduring fertility treatments I know about seeking help, getting my hopes up only to have them dashed. I know about taking every piece of advice given and following the rules. I have been that anxious woman reaching out my hand to Jesus, and I too have felt that relief, that healing. My healing did not come in the form of a successful, full-term pregnancy. My healing came when we stopped trying and adopted the child God had chosen for us.

Is there something that you have struggled with for a period of time? Have you seen doctors, visited with wise counsel? Have you invested your time, energy and money into the situation? Have you ever lost hope? Find your hope in Him. Reach out for him. He’s there.

Twelve years of struggle. Twelve years of pain, embarrassment. Twelve years of poor health. Twelve long years, and one touch gave her a future she never thought she’d have. One touch gave her healing. One touch gave her life. One touch restored her to living.

Are you desperate for Jesus? Are you so desperate for him that you are willing to reach out for him? He wants you to reach out for him. He’ll be there. I promise. He’ll be there.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

You're Skating on Borrowed Time! PSALM 139 Homework

According to, logophile is the Greek word meaning lover of words. It really should not surprise anyone that this daughter of a retired, high-school, English teacher is a logophile. I wasn’t always good at it. As a kid, I’d tell people to copocerate with me – cooperate. I’d get phrases confused and would often join two together – You’re skating on borrowed time. So as I lead my girlfriends in how to study the Bible, how to dig deeper, I’m going through Psalm 139 as part of the homework, and I’m labeling the qualities or characteristics of God:
·         Omnipotent – all powerful
·         Omnipresent – present everywhere
·         Omniscient – all knowing
·         Immanent – fully present and accessible
But then I get to verse 11…
I’m struggling with vs 11, “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night – even the darkness is not dark to You. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to you.” I am at a loss for the word. So you know what I do? I ask. I ask my mom. Then I text my nurse friend and a nursing student. I FB message a doctor friend of mine. I get them all searching. I’ve got to have a word to describe my God’s ability to see in the night as if it were day. Surely there is a word. Surely. (See my Bible studies are not confined to me. I spread my curiosity. I figure if I’m going to be perplexed and frustrated and wonder about something, someone else should be too! LOL) This ability of God’s is not like Superman’s who’s eyesight was laser sharp because God’s ability to see means He knows no night. He knows no darkness. He really has no use for darkness. This creation of darkness is strictly for those living on this earth that need to rest including the land.
I have studied this chapter many times. As a matter of fact before Erin was born God gave me vs 13-14 for her life verses. I quote v 5 -- hemming us in the front and the back -- when I pray for someone. But each time God has me focus on a different scripture, and it’s killing me. I want to know what it means. What is He trying to say to me?
·         I AM… UNFATHOMABLE yet personally interested in His children
·         I AM… INDESCRIBABLE in one mere, human term
·         I AM… INCOMPREHENSIBLE yet provides glimpses into who He is so we are not overwhelmed by His Majesty, His grandeur and so we can have a relationship with Him
·         I AM… not in a box, not in a word, not an event
·         I AM… much, much, much more
I AM… I AM. Deal with it.
It’s when I realize just how unfathomable, indescribable, incomprehensible my God is that I become humbled that He is even mindful of me. He’s not only mindful of each of us, but He takes the time to hand-make, one-of-a-kind individuals since the beginning of time. He is so mindful of us that He keeps an eye on us wherever we are. Regardless of how BiG He is and how small I am, He has taken such an interest to set out my days before I took my first breath. He finds us worthy of His attention and affection. He finds us wonderfully made. He finds us as we are and loves us anyway. Once I understand these things, I can’t help but pray verses 23-24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Amen.