bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Jesus Follower, Uncategorized

Amazingly Healed

Jesus Heals a Boy Possessed by an Impure Spirit

When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.

 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So, they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.[a]

Mark 9:14-29


My eldest daughter is a doctor of physical therapy.  That alone is a miracle.  She studied and worked hard throughout her public school years and yet the results were not always reflective of that work.  Once she entered college she leaned on the lessons learned from getting help early and how to study.  She excelled beyond belief.  As a physical therapist she has seen the fruits of her labor – the healing power of her education.  She has helped many women in the specialty of lower abdomen and uterine pain.  I’m so proud of her.  That being said, as my faith journey moves along, I’ve accepted that some healing only comes from prayer.

“Begin to rejoice in the Lord, and your bones will flourish like an herb, and your cheeks will glow with the bloom of health and freshness.  Worry, fear, distrust, care—are all poisonous!  Joy is balm and healing, and if you will but rejoice, God will give power.”

A.B. Simpson

I like this quote because it reminds me of an amazing healing I saw take place in a friend many years ago.  She had fallen and broken her upper arm.  For many months she went to doctors’ appointments and had all sorts of imaging.  And yet her bone was not naturally re-growing and healing.  It became the usual sight to see her in an arm sling that year.  She was like a baby bird with a broken wing.  Her disappointment after each doctor’s appointment was evident.  And yet she kept praying for healing.  At the end of that painful year I still recall seeing her at church one day and she was full of joy!  Her doctor, on the other hand was so perplexed.  At her appointment that week she had another x-ray.  And her bone was completely healed.  The specialists had no explanation.  But she knew the amazing answer.  Her prayers were heard.

I love how the father in the Bible verse today has the guts to admit to Jesus’ face that he has doubts.  “IF you can do anything” is what he says.  And then asks for help in overcoming his unbelief.  My friend Betsy once shared a powerful prayer technique with my BSGs.  She said if you aren’t ready to believe or take action then ask, in prayer, for help in believing.  

How many of us, when faced with illness or injury aren’t really sure God can heal?  So many of us tend to rely solely on our surgeons, psychologists, specialists, etc. And we forget to turn to God for healing or even to ask for His guiding hands for those gifted doctors.  If you are unsure, pray to resolve your unbelief.  When the disciples asked Jesus why they weren’t able to cure the boy in this amazing Bible event he responded by telling them they needed to draw on the power of God through prayer. 

The disciples had been careless with their personal spiritual walk and had neglected communing with God through prayer and fasting.

Warren Wiersbe, New Testament Bible Commentary

Notice this is not about praying “enough” or being faithful “enough.”  It’s about praying and being faithful and believing.  His amazing healing power is available to the faithful.  And while we may not always know why or when He chooses to heal someone or not, we need to rest in trust that He has a plan far greater than ours.  We must never stop praying and asking for His amazing healing power.

bible study, Christian, christian encouragement, Jesus Follower, Uncategorized

Amazed By His Will

After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Mark 7:33-37


I love this story. Not just because it’s a bit humorous in nature, I mean c’mon, Jesus didn’t HAVE to spit and touch the man’s tongue to heal him or shout to the heavens to cure his deafness. He could have healed the man with no words and no actions, with just one look. But Jesus’ actions show that He truly knew the hearts of the people. He had seen over and over again just how feeble the people were in their faith. He knew they needed clear evidence that He was who He said He was. 

Even more amazing than Jesus concealing his immediate power to tend to the hearts of the people is the immediate authority he has over disease. The verses claim that at the sound of His voice, deafness falls and lameness disappears. In the face of Jesus, darkness cowers in fear.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:5

Just as this verse reminds us of Jesus’ power over the dominion of darkness, let it also be a reminder that what He speaks will be done. Even more amazing, everything on earth and in heaven bows to His authority, because he is the one who created it all (Gen. 1:1). 

Jesus told the man’s ears to open and they opened. Jesus told Peter that there would come a day when he would deny him three times – and that day came. What the Lord spoke in prophesies in the Old Testament came to pass through His Son on the cross. 

We see over and over again that God is a faithful God, who fulfills his promises to His people. Are you trusting in that truth today?  Be amazed today that God will keep all of the below promises to you, for He is a man of His Word.

  • Amidst your worry, anxiety and fear, I will give you rest…. (Matt. 11:28)
  • Through my Son’s wounds on the cross, your brokenness has been redeemed (1 Peter 2:24)
  • I promise that your trials will produce joy (James 1:2)
  • I give strength to the weary (Isaiah 40:29) 
  • I give wisdom to all those who ask of it. I will provide you everything you need for the situations you are in. (James 1:5)
  • I promise, that if you resist the devil HE WILL FLEE. (James 4:7) 

Rest in these truths today. I encourage you to find more on your own. Take time to remember all of the things that have come to pass, the promises that have been fulfilled and ask God today for the strength and faith to believe that what He says, will be done, today, tomorrow and the next. 

bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Uncategorized

A Girl Transformed


My youngest daughter is a poster child for God’s transformation.  When she was a toddler, she constantly begged me to buy her bright and shiny things she saw advertised on tv then displayed on the grocery shelves. I left the grocery store many times during one of her meltdowns.  As she got older, I heard on a daily basis of her “needs.”  “I need more shorts (from the expensive store).”  “I need more pants.”  “I need a new straightener.”  “I need a new (fill in the blank).”  And then there were the social status issues: “Olivia’s mom gets her those, why can’t I have that?”  We started calling her the family princess.  My older daughter, who to almost frustration, never asks for anything.  My prayer life was filled with asking for patience.  This beautiful, smart, vivacious, talented, young girl acted like a spoiled brat.  Thankfully, she reserved all the negative behavior for her home life.  Away from home her teachers, coaches, and friends all loved her.  But they didn’t have to live with her.  My husband and I decided enough was enough.  He started planning frequent mission projects for the two of them to participate in.  She taught vacation Bible School.  She got a job.  We knuckled down on all those “needs.”  And then we sent her off to college, waiting for her to start begging us for money each week.

Dad gives her one last hug

James first starts in chapter 1 that we should consider it pure joy whenever we face trials (James 1:2).  I loved my daughter immensely during those younger years.  I enjoyed her humor, her ability to make any situation into a song.  She was a fierce, talented competitor on the field.  She would burst into the house after school and shower me with love.  That’s what I would thank God for, not for when things went off the rails.  Without the hard stuff I might not have fully appreciated the good stuff.  So, when I sent her off almost 2,000 miles away for college my house felt quiet, too quiet.  And for her, she came to realize how good she had it at home.  She faced terrible roommates, crazy coaches, and bored, lazy professors.  But she also was led to a relationship with Jesus, thanks to being invited to attend an Athletes In Action meeting.  Her “needs” became a need to live in God’s love – not the world of earthly desires.  She surrendered herself fully and in turn, found what really matters in life – an eternal love plus the love and friendships that make us better.  Now when she asks, she asks with the right motives.  She asks for God’s will – not her’s.

This amazing, transformed, daughter of Christ has plans.  But they’re God’s plans.  Her creative mind and her earthly tendency to “want stuff” is still there.  It’s amazing to watch her pull it back in.  You can tell that peace dwells more frequently in her.  Before they got married about a year ago, she and her husband went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace program.  Having the desire to do it in the first place showed their spiritual maturity.  They both have great jobs after having graduated college.  And they could have a lot of “stuff.”  But they made a plan with God in mind.  My little girl who demanded so much is now so incredibly disciplined.  And yes, she has thanked my husband and I many times over for instilling so many morals and values in her.  But it’s God’s work that fully planted those in her heart.  I truly believe the trials she went through while in college gave her a choice – to go down the earthly path or to turn and surrender to God.

James 4 was a message to my daughter.  

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.” (v3)

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?” (v4)

“Submit yourselves, then to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (v7)

“Instead, you ought to say, if it’s the Lord’s will we will live and do this or that.” (v15)

James 4 is a message to all of us who struggle day in and day out with trying to control our lives.  Trying to get all our “needs and wants” satisfied.  It’s a message to all of us who have put “Self” in front of God.  It’s also a message of hope that when we do what we ought to do, when we submit and surrender everything to God, He will draw near to us.  We have a role to play and unless we take our required steps, God cannot finish the work in us. How many of us who struggle with money are willing to spend the next few months going through Financial Peace University?”

And lest we think “those people” are the ones that need to hear this message, the work God had to do in me with my relationship with my daughter was huge.  When I finally surrendered her over to him, when I finally threw up my hands and said, “Ok, I’ve failed, I’ll try it your way,” I could start mending our relationship.  When I started praying His will, and not mine, great things happened.   The planning of her wedding was God’s gift to both of us.  Had she been the “girl before God” she would’ve demanded expensive, well, everything.  Instead she and her fiancé put together a tight budget.  We made decorations.  We eliminated needless activities.  God sent them people who would make a cake for $60, a free videographer, an inexpensive caterer.  They wanted the focus to be on Jesus.  It was so darn fun.  


God’s gifts to me, my two beautiful daughters, are just that – His gifts.  And like my finances, and my marriage, and my home, I need to be a good steward of His gifts.  So, I pray for His will be done.  And may the devil flee.