lunes, 26 de septiembre de 2016

The Healing of Forgiveness

      This morning as I was doing my devotional I came upon the story of the women with the issue of blood in Mark 5:25-34 and Luke 8:43-48. Scholars say this woman suffered most likely of a hemorrhage like a menstrual or uterine disorder which according to the law of that time she was unclean pretty much ALL the time and nobody could touch her. 

She spent twelve years in that condition and probably like an outcast. But one of the amazing things about this woman was that she does not loose hope. The Bible says she had suffered a great deal from many doctors and over the years and spent all she had in trying to get better. But actually she did not got better, she got worse. I just can't imagine her sadness knowing she could not get married or have children because this illness and knowing no doctor could change her situation. She was probably feeling ashamed because the law considered her unclean even though she did not have control over her situation. She was probably experience a lot of fear because wherever she went her sickness could be expose and then nobody would want to be around an unclean person.

One day she heard about Jesus. You would think after twelve years of not getting better and spending all here resources on doctors with this chronic bleeding she probably have become a very bitter, whiny, and hopeless woman that complain all the time about her chronic illness and situations and resented life. But not that was not her case. As soon as she heard Jesus was coming she had faith that Jesus COULD heal and her shame and fear were not going to stop her from reaching Him in the middle of the crowd. So she said “If I can just touch His robes, I’ll be made well”(Mark 5:28). So she went into the middle of the crowd and she had FAITH that Jesus could heal her. Even thought there had been rejection, disappointment, abandonment, shame, sickness, pain, doubts and fear all her life that did not stop her from reaching out to Jesus.  As soon as she touched Him “immediately her flow of blood ceased and she sensed in her body that she was cured of her affliction”(Mark 5:29). 

WOW isn’t this amazing? 

Then Jesus turned around looking to find who had touched Him and He called her “daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be free from your affliction”(Mark 5:34). Not only had Jesus healed her physically but He also took away all the loss and pain her illness caused for twelve years. She probably was just looking for healing physically but God knew more than her what she need it. Jesus removed all the pain, sickness, shame, fear, disappointment, rejection, abandonment and made her whole.  

God is always full of compassion and He is waiting for us to approach him because in His embrace there is forgiveness and healing. There is no such thing as too late or too early. He is always on time. He is always waiting for us to reach out for Him in faith and He never will disappoint us. 

Another story that stood out today in the same reading is the blind beggar in Luke 18:35-43. When I
was a little girl in Sunday school this story was taught to me many times and we would see the pictures of the beggar in the ground and in capital letters, to show he was shouting, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me”(Luke 18:37). Then the Sunday school teacher would asked us “what did the blind beggar shout?” and we would shout at the top of our lungs “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me” it was the best part of the whole story when I was a child. 

What is great about this story that also came to mind is that nothing stops this man from shouting as hard as he could for Jesus. Nothing stopped this man from crying out to God for help. He had faith the only person who could restore his sight was Jesus. 

The Bible says that people told him to turn around and told him to quiet down. They were probably thinking “the master dose not have to time for a blind man or a beggar like you.” “You are a nobody and Jesus doesn’t have time for you.” That people trying to quiet him down did not intimidate him. Totally the opposite he shouted louder and cried out all the more.
So Jesus again stopped in the midst of the crowd and commanded this man to be brought to Him and he asked “what do you want Me to do for you?”(Luke18:40). Powerful question! He said “Lord, I want to see” and Jesus healed him and returned not only his physical but spiritual sight because he came to Jesus believing in who He was.  Jesus the Son of David.  The Savior. At the end we see all the people glorifying and giving praises to God. And the beggar became a follower of Jesus. 
These two stories, and many, many more in the Bible, shows the faithfulness of God. I don't know what you might be going through but it is never too late or too early to cry out to Jesus like the beggar blind or to reach out for Jesus robe like woman with the issue of bleeding. These peoples situations’, pain and sickness were not the end of them but were the main things to strength their faith and glorify God through their healing. 

God is not just interested only in our physical healing but also in our spiritual healing. When we answer God’s call we are willing to give up those things that caused to be less than what God calls us to be. God does not just want one little thing about us but our whole self. When we reach out for Him in faith we probably would have one thing in mind but God has many more and greater things for us. He is working in our lives to makes us whole. 

"And He [Christ] died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again" (2 Co 5:15).

Thank you Jesus, 

© Carla Delgado Sparks

martes, 20 de septiembre de 2016

When Trials Come Our Way

A couple years ago I was in a conference and one of the speakers said “suffering and hard times
are  sweet moments that draw us closer to God” I though in my mind “sweet moments, I don't want those sweet moments in my life. I just want to live happily ever after” since I was very young I love the Lord and I wanted to serve Him but I did not want hard stuff to happen in my life and I certainly did not want to suffer. I would pray something like “keep the hard times very far, far away from me and take me from victory to victory.” But there is not victory without a battle and I am talking about spiritual battles. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”(Ephesians 6:12). By the way, we sometimes confuse spiritual battles with conflict and argument with people and that is not what I am talking about (Colossians 3:13). Although the devil could use people to distract us from the work of God is trying to accomplish in our lives we need to be aware who we really are against.  

  I believe that, while in this earth, because of the consequence of sin, we will always have times when we are going to experience suffering, disappointment and trials. We can embrace that journey with Jesus or be led astray by Satan into a deep pit of despair and hopelessness. I decided in my heart I would always choose Jesus no matter the outcome. I have to say that in the past my least favorite story of the Bible was Job. I always was like let's skip to the blessing part of the book. I know I am NOT Job and I would never want to be Job.  But there is a reason why his name is in the Bible and not mine and his example to follow is completely amazing. I’ll tell you a little bit about his story but I definitely recommend you to read the book your selves.  Job was a man who loved the Lord and Satan told God “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face”(Job 2:4-5). God allowed that to
happen but told Satan DO NOT touch his heart. So there began one disaster after another for Job. He lost everything: his wealth, his children, his friends, his health and to top it off his wife told him to curse God and commit suicide. Job is a model to follow because he never renounce or denied God. This also tells us about the limitation of humans to understand God and His ways. There are some “Why Lord?” questions That will never have answers until we are before God.  At the end of the book God pours out His grace and restored to Job twice the number of livestock and possessions he had before his calamity. He had ten more children and he lived for a very long time. God blesses the righteous, but in His sovereignty He works in His own purpose and His own time. One of the things I love about Job is his endurance in the midst of tragedy. Also that God proves our faith and establishes the limits for both the testing and wrestling with Him. So there is no trial or suffering that last forever. 

  The Bible says Jesus overcame this world and its desires (John 16:33). In this Bible verse we can find comfort and hope because there will be trials, disappointments, and suffering but Jesus will always be capable of overcoming them as we turn to Him. No sin is greater than God’s power. There is absolutely NOTHING Jesus can not overcome. 

Through trials and when things go out of our control is when there is no other choice but to depend deeply on Jesus; our obedience and love for Him is tested. Do I love God because of the things He gives me or for who He is?  What if God take everything away from me? Will I still love Him and follow Him? What if God never change my situation? Will I still be faithful to Him? What if God says “NO that is not my will for you I have something different for you.” Will I still trust Him? I think those are the moments that humble us and nobody posts those on social media, at least not me. It leads us to have a grateful heart and that is easy to say but difficult to do when everything goes wrong. To have a grateful heart when there is a cross to carry is difficult. To have a grateful heart when others are having what you wanted is difficult but not impossible.  The scriptures says “But in Christ, we know that we can “Rejoice always”(1Thessalonians 1:16-18)

The other day I decided to choose Jesus even if the things never change and even if the things get worse I will still trust Jesus because I think it is infinite times better to follow Him and be obedient to Him than to be separate of Him. I will still pursue Him and I will want more of what He wants because His will is good, pleasing and perfect. I actually think of how many stupidities I would have avoided had I turned first to Him and His wisdom instead of my “brilliant thinking.” Today I can say the best decisions in my life has been made with divine wisdom As I grasp with all my strength at my Savior I don't want to control everything in my life, marriage or kids. I want to be where God wants me to be and do what God wants me to do. 

That is a daily decision I made and it requires submission to His will.  But there is indescribable joy and peace when we are where God wants us to be and when we do what God wants us to do. I don't want the things to go my way but God’s way. I am grateful that in this journey I am not walking alone but God is guiding me. I am glad that God never gets tired of forgiving me and giving me grace in abundance. It fills me with peace when He assures my heart and tells me “you might not see it but I am always working for your good.” I am extremely blessed to know that what the devil meant for our destruction God uses for our good and the blessing of many others. You see God is glorified in our weakness because when everybody see us at our worst; He is glorified when he raise us from our ashes and he gets all the glory and power. He knows we can’t in our strength but we can always overcome sin in His strength and power. Yes, the devil is after destroying lives but God is after saving them, restoring them and He exalts His name on high by doing this. As long as we have Him there is always hope, salvation, redemption, restoration, and love for us. He never runs out of love for us.  

When I was younger I would hear the testimonies of people and I would be completely amazed by their testimonies and what God did in their lives and I thought “that just happen to people in the spotlight that God wants to use in big ways.”  Yet, during this past year I have met so, so  many people that are not famous preachers and their lives have been delivered from bondage, healed and completely restored. God has show me again He never disappoints those who trust Him and lean on Him. I am amazed… blown away…. I just think God your work in their lives in such a mighty way. God you rescued them from the gates of hell and bring them to be whole in you. God is still in the work of changing very messed up lives. There is no hopeless situation for Him. There is no unpardonable sin for Him. God during this time has broken many of my legalistic views and perceptions  and once again brought the gospel alive and more real than ever before.

Thank you Jesus, 
Carla -

© Carla Delgado Sparks