Healed Man’s Clothes Prove Contagious

The man was healed, the deed was sealed,

and through his clothes much was revealed.

“Throw out those duds,” his wife had said.

“I will not have them near my bed.”

 

But Naaman scoffed. “What could it hurt?

Behold this fabulous T-shirt!”

“I won it on the battlefield,

And think it makes a glorious shield!”

 

“In such bright goods I must invest.

Believe me, dear. It’s for the best.”

She pointed to his furry hat.

“Such headgear makes your face too fat.”

 

“If being healed is your desire,

Then throw those garments in the fire!”

“They are not harming anything.

Their praises I will gladly sing,”

Said Naaman. “Let me rest in peace

While I pursue a quick release

From this unsightly leprosy.

Wait ‘til the prophet sets me free!”

“Those smelly things reek of disease.

Please toss them NOW. Set me at ease.”

“Ah, but I snagged them at a sale.

Over the crowds I did prevail.”

 

“It isn’t Christmastime,” said she.

“Stop stalling so pathetically.”

So, Naaman set out for the dump,

but he was feeling like a grump.

The “doctor” lived so far away,

To get there took him half a day.

 

He started knocking on the door.

“Important man here. Don’t ignore!”

“Just wave your hand and I’ll be healed!”

His restlessness was not concealed.

 

But by and by, a messenger came.

Gehazi was the servant’s name.

“If you’d be healed,” he told the man,

“then you must heed my master’s plan.”

Now Naaman’s insides filled with wrath

when he was told to take a bath,

Not once, not twice, but seven times.

Was it to pay for all his crimes?

“That insult,” he said, “I can’t bear.”

“The idiot cap, then, you will wear,”

 

His servants said. “Would you be healed?”

So, from his back, his robe he peeled.

He took his shirt and vest off too,

And ere he plunged into the brew,

 

Removed his shoes and socks and pants

(His underwear was full of ants).

Then in the Jordan he did dip

His naked body. What a trip!

For, even though the cure was free,

It didn’t happen instantly.

 

But he was humbled, he was healed,

God’s will from heaven was revealed.

His skin, now healed, was soft and clean.

In old clothes he would not be seen.

 

His servants brought him something new.

Meanwhile, what could rich Naaman do

About the clothes he said he’d ditch,

The ones his wife told him to pitch?

To bury them would not be fun,

And yet the sad deed must be done.

Back to the prophet he must go,

Thank him with grace, and not be slow.

He told the prophet, “You’re God’s real!

I’ll worship him now. He’s the deal!”

 

Somehow, he felt that he should pay

For getting healed, without delay.

But God’s man said, “You’re healed for free!”

So, he departed joyfully

Yet with a giant load of dirt

For burying the hat and shirt

And all the other germy clothes.

He wouldn’t be caught dead in those!

The outfits, used, to him weren’t cool,

And yet they made Gehazi drool.

Elisha’s servant found a way

To “steal” the guy’s old clothes that day.

But Naaman’s clothes spread leprosy.

Gehazi caught it easily

And from it he could not get healed.

It clung to him. His fate was sealed.

Now, there’s a moral to this story:

One, you must respect God’s glory.

Also, if you have a need,

Do not resort to selfish greed.

(based on the story in II Kings chapter 5)

Miracles That Bear Good Fruit Attract Persecution

Signs, wonders and miracles were a big part of Pastor Naboth’s charismatic church, which was built on prayer and firmly steeped in the awe of God. The gatherings were lively and God’s Word went forth powerfully, resulting in healed minds, changed hearts, and saved souls. For the deaf to hear and the blind to see was commonplace. But to see the way the rich shared with the poor was a true miracle indeed.

“Miracles are normal when you connect with Jesus, the divine vine,” the pastor liked to say. “For those who question the validity of these miracles, look at the fruit. With God all things are possible.”

“Yeah, right. Be realistic. You’re a phony through and through,” grumbled old Ahab, the minister from the glitzy church two blocks down the road. Ahab did not believe in miracles.

“There’s something fishy about that pastor and his group of wild fanatics,” he muttered as he dipped his hand into a can of stinky sardines. “I don’t trust the holy laughter. I know he pushes those people down. Someone ought to teach them to take God more seriously!”

As Reverend Ahab grumbled, his wife Jezebel strode in with a pot of nasty tea and a plate of soggy sauerkraut to match her wrinkly face.

“What is it now?” she snapped. “I could hear you whining from all the way down the hall.”

Ahab burst into tears. “I offered Pastor Naboth half my cash stash to lay hands on me and anoint me to do miracles like he does. but he had the nerve to tell me my heart wasn’t right with God. It isn’t fair. I didn’t slave and sweat for all those years to put MY church on the map only to lose half of it to him. Attendance has taken a nosedive and no one cares.”

Jezebel groaned. “Enough of this complaining. I’ll drum up a scandal that’ll bring the pastor and his congregation to their knees.”

And so, the wicked woman hired numerous lying lawyers to take Pastor Naboth to court. They accused him of pushing people down on purpose and performing false miracles for show. Lying witnesses accused him of all sorts of abuse and made it appear as if he’d visited internet sites he never even heard of.

With many a false testimony dipped in poisonous words, Jezebel and her cohorts dumped tons of dirt on the good fruit of the Holy Spirit that Pastor Naboth’s congregation was experiencing.

But though Pastor Naboth’s reputation did get buried, the good fruit of the Spirit still remained. The miracles, signs and wonders that took place in his church could not be denied. For God would not allow the bitter herbs of Jezebel’s wrath to overtake His “vineyard.” He can bring new life out of the deadest circumstance.

As for Pastor Naboth, he praised God amid the fiery trial Jezebel and Ahab put him through. Instead of taking vengeance into his own hands, he died to himself and, in a sense, was resurrected. The bad guys killed him with their words but couldn’t keep him down.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”  (Matthew 5:12)

 

 

Seeing Him is Believing

Seeing Jesus is believing. Why do I say this? After all, not everyone who saw Jesus believed in Him. Obviously, I’m not talking about natural eyesight. I’m talking about something deeper, the vision of faith: faith that comes from hearing God’s Word and receiving it into our hearts in a way that shows us Jesus.

 

“He who has seen me has seen the Father,” Jesus told Philip in John 14:9. He wasn’t speaking here of God’s physical form, but of God’s character. Through Jesus we see God’s personality: what He is like, what His will is, how He acts, what He does, how He wants to relate to us, and what He desires to do in, for, and through us.

 

“And this is the confidence we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us: And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” (I John 5:14-15)

 

Have you ever had a friend you knew so well, you could almost predict his answer to any question you might ask him? If you know someone well enough, you may be able to predict their will in any given situation. Most likely, you don’t ask that person for anything you don’t believe they’re willing to give you. It works the same way with God. If you don’t believe He’ll answer your request, then why would you bother asking?

 

But if you know Him, then you know His will. And if you look at Jesus – through scripture study and though prayer – then you will get to know Him and understand His will. Knowing His will gives you faith to believe.

 

“Lord, if you will, you can make me clean,” the leper told Jesus (Matthew 8:2).

 

Jesus reached out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” (verse 3)

 

By healing the man, Jesus showed him God’s will for him. By seeing Jesus do the miracle, he was able to see God’s will for himself. And the way he saw God’s will in this case was by asking.

 

“Lord, if you will, you can.”

 

Asking is a good way to see God’s will, because even when God’s will is clearly seen in scripture, it may be difficult to see exactly what it means for us in any particular situation. Seeing God’s will from afar is quite different from seeing it up close and personal. To see God’s will up close, we need to  do what it says in Hebrews 12:1. That involves:

 

SEEING (picturing in our minds)

 

the cloud of witnesses seeing and surrounding us,

 

lay aside every blinding weight (of doubt) that keeps us from seeing where we’re going,

 

running with patience the race set before us (which is only possible as we…)

 

KEEP OUR EYES on the goal,

 

LOOKING to Jesus (see verse 2), for He Himself IS

 

The author and finisher of our faith.

 

Nowhere in scripture are we encouraged to drum up faith in and of ourselves, but as the above scriptures instruct us, faith comes from God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

To see Him is to believe!

God’s Miracles are Never Boring

GOD’S MIRACLES: EXCITING AND SOMETIMES FUN

God’s miracles, as depicted in the Bible, are never boring. They carry a level of excitement that far surpasses any sort of “man-made” invention. Such miracles make fun of unbelief, which is basically man’s way of saying “I’m smarter than God.”  Take, for example,  the Tower of Babel story in Genesis chapter 11.

Babel

This tale is about a group of people who decided to build a tower that would reach all the way to heaven. They did it in order to make a name for themselves, even though it made no sense. After all, they were the only ones on earth. Who were they doing it for? The Bible doesn’t tell us. But oh, what blood and sweat and tears must have gone into those bricks!

“We’re the men who won’t be moved! Ist das nicht wunderbar?”  Suddenly one man’s English became another man’s German.

“Nin hao. What did you say? Nin jiao shenme mingze?”

“No comprendo. No te olvides lo que hacemos aqui.”

One person spoke Chinese. Another chattered in Spanish. Can you picture the confused men running around like chipmunks, trying to communicate in sign language?

How ridiculous it is to go against God and think that you can win! The truth is, no one stands a chance against God’s miracles, which are like wrecking balls, thwarting evil plans. That’s what happened at Babel. Mankind’s “unification” scheme was demolished. As funny as it may have appeared, however, it can’t compare to the miracles Jesus did. For the group at Babel scattered, Jesus’ miracles brought wholeness. The healing of a crippled man is one example.

Through the Roof

People heard sawing.  Pieces of wood fell from above as the ceiling began to cave in. Then someone cried, “Look out below!”

“How a I going to pay for this?” the house owner wondered as the crippled man came into view. The poor guy lay immobile on the mat, inside that crowded house. He said nothing, but his friends expected Jesus to do a miracle.

How they must have smiled to hear Jesus tell the paralyzed man, “Be of good cheer. Your sins are forgiven”!

The religious guys wondered how he could say such a thing. To their surprise, Jesus healed the man and sent him on his way.

What if, as he picked up his mat to leave, one end accidentally smacked a  grumbler in the face?

When God does miracles, people’s rotten attitudes turn to toast. That’s what makes them fun.

God’s Sense of Humor

The idea that God’s miracles can evoke humor in the mind of those who read them is supported by scripture. Besides verses such as Nehemiah 8:10, which says that “The joy of the LORD is your strength,” and Proverbs 17:22, which states that “A merry heart does good like a medicine,” consider this passage in Psalms chapter 2, beginning with verse 1:

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

“Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

He that sits in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.”

God’s miracles are what humble and shock His enemies. Like the nannies lined up with their black umbrellas in the movie “Mary Poppins,” they find themselves blown away – not by some strange magic but by the wind of the Holy Spirit, through whom all things are possible, if you believe.

Miracle Seed

One day a desperate man sought Jesus, undaunted by thick crowds. He needed a miracle right away. He needed a miracle NOW!

He couldn’t let his seed of faith be trampled on the ground.

He must place it in Jesus’ hand to keep it safe and sound.

He wasn’t part of the “in” group, those Jesus had personally called. They were his closest friends. How could he get past that wall? The inner circle was tight. Why should they let him through? He had charge of the synagogue. That fact would have to do. For Jesus was a great man, called by some the Son of God. “I mustn’t waltz up uninvited,” Jairus might have thought. But this was an emergency. His daughter lay dying. So, he pressed through the crowd. On Jesus’ help he was relying. He hadn’t come to shake Christ’s hand or take a photo shoot. He’d come to satisfy a need and mustn’t remain mute. Falling down at Jesus’ feet, he made his request known. How different from today’s routine of chatting on the phone!

“Come to my house and heal my girl,” the sad man humbly asked. To his delight, the Lord agreed, not taking him to task. The seed of faith was flourishing, for Jairus had believed. Faith incarnate walked beside him now. What couldn’t he receive?

In His face we see the miracle, through His grace we find the seed,

If we’ll let go of pride and look to Him to meet the need.

He will not let our seeds of faith be trampled on the ground,

For He’s the One who saves us. Through His faith the lost are found.

And so, the two men walked along, surrounded by a crowd of Jesus fans and close disciples, people who were wowed by all the miracles they’d heard or seen the Master do. But all at once the fun camaraderie they shared was through, for someone more obscure than Jairus shook things up a bit. From her rose an idea of a faith that would not quit.

She had no famous friends to help her get to Jesus’ side.

No roof would they tear down for her. It wasn’t a free ride.

 

But she would not allow her faith to fall onto the ground,

And so, she snuck up quietly, without making a sound.

 

She couldn’t say, “Come to my house,” because she was unclean. The bleeding she experienced had kept her from her dream. To enter Jairus’ synagogue she wouldn’t ever dare. Until she was made whole, nobody had the time to spare. But Jesus was a kind man, she’d heard rumored. He might care. But what about the others, all the men who stood nearby? Her illness left her labeled. To approach them, she might die. “But if I touch His hem, then I’ll be healed,” she told herself. She’d spent too much to leave such wisdom lying on a shelf.

 

One touch and she was healed, but Jesus wouldn’t let her hide it.

He felt the power flow from Him. Why should she be shy of it?

 

He wouldn’t let her seed of faith be trampled on the ground,

Because He was determined that she spread it all around.

 

“Who touched me?” he kept asking, ‘til she finally confessed.

She told the Savior what she’d done and everyone was blessed –

 

Including Jairus, I believe, whose faith had taken a hit. For to see someone you love get sick and not recover from it can make you sad and doubt God’s willingness to heal the sick. “Where is His healing power?” you wonder. “What will do the trick? I need a miracle, He knows, yet chooses to ignore. I’ve been so long at asking. What is Jesus waiting for?” Now this woman he could not have let into his house of prayer a mere moment before was now happily standing there, testifying to the awesome power of God to heal. Through her he saw the truth of it: “This man is the real deal.”

 

As if on cue, somebody came and stopped the hopeful man. “Don’t bother Jesus anymore. To heal can’t be the plan. Your daughter is dead, Jairus, and the mourners are all there.” He trampled on the seed of faith with tidings of despair. His news was like a rock aimed at the faith in Jairus’ heart. Though said in all sincerity, it was like a fiery dart.

 

But Jesus wouldn’t let that heart become like stony ground.

He poured fresh water on it with bright words that still resound.

 

“Don’t fear, only believe,” he said before they reached the door. Inside, a group of tearful mourners sat upon the floor.

 

“Stop crying. She’s not dead but sleeps,” he told the gathered crowd.

 

They treated His words like a joke. The whole group laughed aloud.

 

He put them all to silence and He let them say no more. Soon every single one of them was headed out the door. The thorns that scorn had been cast out. Now faith could grow and thrive. Jesus raised the daughter up and now she was alive.

 

Such is the seed for miracles. It comes straight from the Lord,

And if we listen to His Word, then we will not be bored.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Faith Connection That Heals

Based on the story in Luke 8:43-48

 

With bold determination the woman reaches out,

While faith unwavering she casts aside all doubt.

To Jesus she draws near, bending down to touch His hem,

She gets her miracle in secret, but what happens then?

 

Power emanates from Him to stop her flow of blood.

From His garment, mercy pours upon her like a flood.

It’s not her strength or wisdom, nor the doctor’s expertise

That heals her body, but her faith in Christ provides the key.

 

The cares she bears arise like birds, and fly into the sky.

One touch creates a miracle from God, who cannot lie.

He is the healing stream we need to wash away our pain,

And if we will abide in Him, then we have much to gain.

 

He will not ever leave us, so then why should we leave Him,

By acting like the chances that He’ll heal us are quite slim?

“It probably won’t work unless He does it on a whim.

After all, the doctor says the outcome may be grim.”

 

It’s easy to trust man instead of clinging to God’s Word,

Shaded beneath shadows of false comfort we have heard.

“Mortal man knows what is best. God’s too mysterious.

Don’t act like some fanatic preacher, making a big fuss.”

 

To take a faith stand seems so strange to most folks in the crowd

Who wish to be unnoticed. They’re too shy to shout out loud.

“Why should I say that I am well when everyone can see

The miserable shape I’m in? I’m sick as sick can be.”

 

Such statements make it sound like God does not like miracles

Or that His healing verses don’t apply to curing ills

Unless the wounds are “spiritual,” a “fact” no one can measure,

But the woman who touched Jesus must have learned God’s Word to treasure.

 

She held fast to her faith as she pressed through the gathered crowd,

And she’s the one He noticed. “Who touched me?” he asked aloud.

He wanted her to testify of what God did for her.

To hide the miracle was something He would not endure.

 

Do you hear him speaking? I hear it loud and clear:

 

“Don’t waver in your witness. Tell the truth and make it plain.

If you deny what I have done, your health it won’t sustain.

You must resist the devil if you would abide in me.

Stick with me in this matter. I am your security.”

 

So, trembling, she declared her deed and what had happened next.

No doubt heaven was cheering. As for Satan, he was vexed.

He doesn’t like a healing, and he doesn’t want us well,

For healing comes from Jesus who does not want us in hell.

 

He shed his blood to save us from the worst disease of all,

The everlasting fever that resulted from man’s fall.

He wants to break our chains, our souls from torment to release.

If we will take a stand for Him, then we will know His peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cure for Infertility

Poetry based on the new Testament book of John, chapter 15

 

There is health in the vine,

True wealth in the vine,

We are fruitful and we multiply

When we stay in the vine

 

We are connected, resurrected

When we stay in the vine,

Well-nourished, we do flourish

As we abide in the divine

 

Without me, Jesus said,

You can do nothing, there’s no fruit

For everyone who trusts in me

Is like a tender shoot.

 

They get their life from me,

Not from worn-out religious rules

You cannot multiply if you

Imbibe the wine of fools.

 

How do you then abide in me?

By faith you must partake

And faith comes from my Word,

Which power nobody can shake

 

Drink in my Word with all your heart,

Its truth will set you free,

My Word has power to heal your lack

Of productivity.

 

But listening to worldly wisdom

Clogs the pipes of grace

That help you to digest my Word.

Would you behold my face?

 

You can’t be friends with Jezebel

And see my kingdom come.

And listening to Ahab

Will not help my will be done.

 

 

For Jezebel speaks of control,

Rebellion is her game.

And if you listen to her words,

Then you’ll be brought to shame.

 

She’ll tell you where to go,

And what to do and where to sit

Before me she won’t bow

And to My Word she won’t submit

 

Her husband Ahab’s fleshly cravings

Spoil the precious grapes.

He chokes the vibrant branches

With constrictive masking tapes.

 

It leads to infertility,

An absence of good fruit.

No spiritual authority

Is found within the shoot.

 

They’ll turn you into eunuchs

If you do not throw them down.

Resist the urge to please those guys.

Don’t cower when they frown.

 

The fear of man will lay a snare

And cause you to get burned.

If that’s the case, consider it

A lesson you have learned.

 

Without Me you will shrivel,

Wither up and slowly die.

It hurts to go your own way,

On your own flesh to rely.

 

It’s time to reconnect with God,

Who helps you to believe,

For I will never cast you out

If you will but receive.