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

Amazing Truths

And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

Mark 11:17-18


Recently, during a road trip my husband and I were listening to the Robertson’s Unashamed podcast.  The topic was the concept of being “cancelled” by society.  In 2014, GQ magazine contacted the Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson, to delve into this bearded phenomenon.  During the interview he was asked for the definition of sin.  He went on to quote 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Cor 6: 9-10

And he got cancelled.  Literally.  The producers put the show on hiatus – for quoting the Bible.  Now, of course, we all can imagine the uproar.  The media quoted Mr. Robertson as though it were his own words, calling him a homophobe and all sorts of names.  Very few, in fact only a newspaper out of London, made it clear he was quoting from the Bible.  As we like to say now, it was a lot of fake news.  The truth was so easily accessed and so readily ignored.  Here was a man who had few, if any secrets – and absolutely none about his faith journey.  He was on an internationally televised show praying and preaching.  And yet amazingly enough the media seemed shocked he believed in, taught, and quoted the Bible.

Jesus, in Mark 11, walks into the temple in Jerusalem and begins driving out the street vendors.  When questioned by the chief priests He makes it clear what God expects from the people and the use of His temple.  The priests were so frightened by the truths being spoken to the people that they wanted Jesus “cancelled.”  But do you notice the last part of the sentence? “…because the whole crowd was amazed at His teaching.”  The people wanted to know the true Word of God and they listened with rapt attention.  It frightened those in charge of their probable loss of power over the people.

What Phil Robertson is comfortable with is teaching the true Word of God to the people.  Human sin is at the beginning through the end of the Bible. And much as we might like to, we aren’t to pick and choose from which sins God has spoken.  The truth of sin is written in every single book of the Bible.  When our pastors and faith leaders ignore these truths, it handicaps us in our full understanding of God’s character and His expectations of us.

My husband and I were talking about this after listening to the Unashamed podcast.  If we never hear that we are all sinners, we are left with the impression that maybe only some people sin or there’s various levels of sinfulness.  It isn’t just “those people” who are sexually immoral, who lie, who cheat, who create false idols.  It’s all of us to one extent or another.  That’s the truth.  I’ve never met someone in all the various Bible study and small groups that hasn’t admitted to some kind of sin.  But that’s only the first step to God’s amazing truths.

When the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth he chastised them for their lax ways related to sin, especially sexual sin. It was being justified through false teachings. And it was tearing them apart. If we don’t learn about sin how can we then learn true grace and forgiveness?  I want to be on the “right side” of God – not making up my own understandings.  When our faith leaders avoid uncomfortable conversations like abortion, homosexuality, infidelity, etc how then are we lay people to fully understand how to treat people with grace, love, kindness and forgiveness?  All are welcome to church but what does it mean to welcome someone who is sinning right now?  What does it mean to have been sexually immoral or have had an abortion and now I want to live a Christian life?

I sin constantly.  When I make a commitment to God to not use His name in vain and then turn around and cuss and use coarse language I’m sinning.  I have a very difficult time honoring my parents and not trashing them to my inner circle (heck, even my outer, outer circle).  I encouraged a friend to have an abortion. I lived with my husband before we were married.  I’m prideful.  I covet.  I place idols above God.  None of these make me any better or worse than those who commit the sins we tend to think as the “biggies.”  And yet we dance around the truth of sin and its effects on our lives and the world.

God is the Alpha and Omega.  He is always complete.  He is always teaching us and bringing us full circle.  We need to live in that completeness.  The completeness that His amazing truths, as revealed in the Bible, tell us includes opening our eyes to sin AND our hearts to grace.  Grace without the “what and why” is almost meaningless.  It’s like a teenager tossing a snide “sooooorrrryy.”  We want that teenager to understand what was wrong about their action and why.  The apology, when spoken from the heart, means so much more.  If we run around tossing out blind acceptance, thinking it is love and grace, we miss out on the opportunity to really dig into God’s amazing plan for us.  

I want to be held to account by God.  I want to be amazed by the truths written in His Book.   And if knowing and speaking those truths to fellow Christians or people asking me what God says about a topic then so be it.  Because I am learning the complete truth.  I am learning each day how to have open eyes tied to an open heart.  His amazing truths about my sin are made complete with His amazing truths about His love.

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.