The real touch

Mark 5:25-34  And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years,  (26)  and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.  (27)  She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment.  (28)  For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.”  (29)  And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.  (30)  And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?”  (31)  And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?'”  (32)  And he looked around to see who had done it.  (33)  But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth.  (34)  And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

There were many that day that were touching Jesus. The crowd was excited that he was there; however, there was one who touched Him with a faith for healing. It makes me wonder if He is still in the crowd as people are talking about Jesus being a good man, good teacher, or maybe even a prophet.  There are many who are going about their day as if it were just any other day. I wonder if we have people who attend church that are there for some other reason than “touching Jesus”? The crowd may be excited about worship or some special teacher delivering a message. We can go through life and handle the supernatural as if it were yesterday’s news. This was probably this woman’s last and only chance at a healing. She was not going to allow Jesus to pass her by without reaching out to touch Him. We often want God to touch us (which we should); however, since we know the truth maybe our desire ought to be that we do everything within our power to touch Jesus. If we are going to church then we ought to pray, sing, listen to the Word; however, the desire of our hearts should be to touch the Master as His reaches to touch the depths of our souls. Oh, if I could only touch Jesus then everything will be just fine. Have you touched Jesus? I know that we all have difficulties and problems in our life and families. If we were brutally honest then we must admit that difficulties and problems are not going any where fast as we will forever have them. However, is it our desire to touch Jesus so that He can touch our life in the midst of our trouble and pain? Oh dear Lord, please help me to touch You so that You can touch the depths of my soul. I need Your blessings, healing, peace, joy, and comfort!

Blessings,

Marcus Riggs

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Approaching Properly

Leviticus 10:1-2  Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them.  (2)  And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.

I do believe that this is a rather horrible situation. Nadab and Abihu are approaching the Lord in a sacrilegious and irreverent manner. They knew the proper manner in approaching God; however, they decided to do things their own way. The previous scenario in the Temple makes this difficult to understand as Moses and Aaron has just offered an offering and God illustrated His glory by fire coming out and consuming the burnt offering. Some say that Nadab and Abihu came before the Lord after drinking alcohol because Moses tells Aaron in Leviticus 10:8-11 to not come before the Lord in that manner. How are we to come before the Lord? Can we just approach God just anyway we desire? I think that Paul gives us a little insight in Ephesians 2:18-20 “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. (19) So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, (20) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.” The Hebrew writer also challenges us in Hebrews 4:16 (ESV) “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. We come before God with “confidence” because of our relationship with Christ. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY! We cannot come to God just any way we desire nor can we live in any manner and think that we can come boldly into God’s presence. We ought to know that we come to God reverently, respectfully. God is not just “The Man upstairs” but God and He deserves our worship and honor. If I see God for who He really is then I will treat Him accordingly and I will live differently, righteously, and lovingly. Dear God, please help me to see You properly.

Blessings,

Marcus Riggs

Blessings right where you are

 

Mark 5:15 & 18-20  And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. (18)  As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.  (19)  And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”  (20) And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

This situation is a rather powerful situation. A man who was demon possessed was delivered by Jesus. The people in the area were unable to keep him in chains as he roamed free in the midst of the tombs. He was a mad man as he cut himself and harmed anyone who came around him. However, this man had an interaction with Jesus and he was clothed and in his right mind. He truly was a walking miracle. The change was so great in this man that his one desire was to go and be with Jesus as he went around preaching. However, this transformed life was going to do its greatest work for the Kingdom with the people who knew him best. Can you imagine seeing this man walk down the street knowing that he was once demon possessed but now is a changed man? In reality we are no different than this demon possessed man. Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Has Jesus delivered you? Your life should be such a transformation process that the people around you know that you have been transformed by the power of the Lord. Jesus desires to use your life as an example to illustrate His grace, mercy, and power. Your greatest testimony is to illustrate God’s changing power to the lives you touch on a daily basis. Live for Jesus so that they know that Jesus is not dead but alive because He lives through you. Live for Jesus so that there is no problem with understanding the transformational power of the Holy Spirit. Live for Jesus so that the world will desire the same. Blessings to the name of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit that works in our lives and circumstances.

Blessings,

Marcus Riggs

The reason for the storm

Mark 4:35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” (37) And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.

Mark 5:1-2  They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes.  (2)  And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.

Who told the disciples to get into the boat?  Who led them right into the storm? Yes, Jesus is the one. Why would Jesus purposefully send the disciples right into a storm where they thought that they were going to die? Jesus needed to go through the storm because there was a man who needed deliverance on the other side of Sea of Galilee. Why do we have such storms in our lives? Why does God allow us to go through such difficult times in dealing with loss, death, fear, loneliness, etc? There is a reason for the storms of life. We are going on our current path because God has a work for us all to do. Paul speaks to this in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, (4) who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” God desires to bless us as He brings us through our situations so that we may turn and bless others. I believe that God desires for us to learn a few lessons as we go through our storms such as growing closer to the Lord, understanding more about Him, learning more about ourselves, and gaining faith and strength so that we can in turn be a blessing into the life of others. Jesus did tell us to go and make disciples. Now I know that making disciples is teaching people to be like Jesus; however, Paul said follow me as I follow Christ (1 Cor 11:1). God can use our life’s experiences to either encourage or warn people as they walk with Jesus. Are you going through a storm? Are things difficult at this time in your life? I believe that we need to turn to God and ask Him to use the storm for His glory in order to bless someone else through our circumstance. Dear God, I know that storms can be tough to walk through; however, strengthen us so that we can encourage and minister to someone else.

Blessings,

Marcus Riggs

Who’s in the boat?

The Boat

Mark 4:35-41  On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”  (36)  And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.  (37)  And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.  (38)  But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (39)  And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  (40)  He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”  (41)  And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

I would like for you to notice first of all that Jesus is the one that told them to get into the boat. This is crucial because the storm that forms in the disciple’s life is to no surprise to Jesus. When the boat began to fill with water as the storm raged upon them they began to fear for their lives. The disciples must have had a moment of memory lapse because they must have forgotten that Jesus was with them. The disciples could not remember what David had written in Psalms 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Did the disciples have such memory problems so as to forget that Jesus is the one that had just healed Peter’s mother-in-law, many people in the crowd, the paralytic lowered through the roof, and the man with a withered hand? Or maybe they didn’t think that Jesus had enough power to calm the storm. I wonder why we fret so much when we go through our troubles and trials. Why do we think that God has forsaken us? Do we not know who is walking with us? We must understand that the creator of the universe is either walking with us or carrying us through our problems. Why are we so fearful? Why do we have such little faith? Do we doubt His power? Do we doubt His love? It matters not what storm we are going through but only that Jesus is walking with us. Instead of us getting terrified at the storm we should allow the power of God to work in the midst of our situations. We just need to keep seeking the presence of our Lord and allow Him to work His wonderful will in our life. Just allow Jesus to speak to your life and say, “Peace be still”. Do you trust Him?

Blessings,

Marcus Riggs

The desires of my heart

Psalms 37:4-5 ESV (4) Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (5) Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

What are your desires? What do you desire for God to do? Some will look at verse 4 and think of it as a blank check of sorts. Some will think that God is supposed to give into our every whim and urge because it is the “desire of our heart”. If my desire were to be wealthy then God is some way is locked into giving it to me because it is a “desire of my heart”. Sickness would be gone from my life and those in whom I love because it is the “desire of my heart”. This passage is not a blank check of sorts; however, there is a link between “trusting in the Lord” and “delighting in the Lord” and seeing the desires of our hearts come to fruition. The psalmist does not state to delight yourself in the way of the world so that you can get everything you want. He states for us to delight ourselves in the Lord. This means that our hearts, minds, and desires are connected to the Lord with His heart, mind, and desires. How am I supposed to know what God’s heart, mind, and desires are? Is this knowledge unattainable? We can know God’s heart, mind, and desires by reading His written Word in conjunction with His Holy Spirit moving in our life. I would like to say that God’s Word and His Holy Spirit never contradict one another. Delight yourself in the ways of the Lord and then our desires will be His desires. If our desires are His desires then He will give us the desires of our hearts. God desires to fulfill His written Word in our lives so that His name will be glorified. We must find His written promises, apply them to our lives, and allow the Power of the Holy Spirit to move in our situations. I hope that you can see that it is nothing about you or me but all about lifting up the name of Jesus. Dear God, may I delight myself in You so that You will give me the desires of my heart, which is to glorify Your wonderful name.

Blessings,

Marcus Riggs

The blessedness of forgiveness

Psalms 32:1 & 10 ESV Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (10) Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.

Can you remember when you did not know Jesus as your Savior? To think that we were in a state that would have separated us from our loving Heavenly Father for all eternity. However, now we know Jesus as our Savior and we are simply blessed! I have often stated that if God never touches me again for healing or in providing a need that He has given me the greatest blessing of all time in that I know Him as Savior. To know that Jesus died upon a cruel cross for you and me so that we might know salvation is beyond my comprehension. I love the way that the psalmist puts it in Psalms 103:11-12 ESV “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;  (12)  as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” If we know Jesus as our Savior then our sins have been forgiven and they are gone. Can you ponder that thought for a moment? Man was on his way to hell but our loving Heavenly Father sent Jesus to die in our place. This means that our guilt and shame are nailed to the cross and we are free in Christ. In this passage the psalmist illustrates the contrast between the wicked and forgiven. The wicked are surrounded by sorrows; however, those who trust in the Lord are surrounded by love. Are you forgiven? Do you know Jesus as your Savior? If you do not then you must know that you are missing out on the greatest adventure and blessing in your life. Know Jesus as your Savior and you will know peace, joy, and love. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Blessings,

Marcus Riggs