Thursday, October 28, 2021

My Story Matters: The Woman with the Issue of Blood

(picture taken in Magdala, Israel fall of 2018)

Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” Luke 8:46-48

Question: How would YOU feel if no one called you by name, but only by the health-condition with which you struggled?

Such is the case in the New Testament with the woman we refer to as "the woman with an issue of blood." 

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record this poor woman’s story.  

It seems not one of them took the time to ask her if she had a name; however, they did take the time to talk about her faith.  

I do believe I'd be ok with that....

In fact, if no one remembers my name, but they refer to me by my faith in Jesus once I'm gone...all the better! "That woman who believed..." What an honor!!!!

BUT, back to the story of this dear woman....

(picture taken in Magdala, Israel)

After a little research from various sources, my heart goes out to this gal.  

Not only did she have to deal with her hemorrhaging for 12 years, but an issue this severe left her with a lot of other physical complications, which I discovered: weakness, fatigue, headaches, irritability, brittle hair and nails, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, mouth sores, iron deficiency, and restless leg syndrome are all symptomatic.  

That’s just for starters.  

Then, there was The Law.  

(picture from the Bible Museum, Washington DC)

The Law was very specific (start reading at Leviticus 15:25):  as long as this woman was bleeding, she was unclean, and, everything she sat on or touched was unclean.  

So for twelve years, no one wanted to touch her or be near her, because to do so left her friends and family defiled (that word alone is intimidating)…and the process for cleansing was more than complicated.  

Add to this the fact that she’d seen every legitimate doctor (and, probably, quack) around the country, and  she was flat broke.  

Now, take all this into consideration, and we see a woman barely holding onto a rope of hope.  

The emotional torment left her embarrassed, distressed, depressed, discouraged, and desperate.  Her soul was wracked with a futile combination of fear and frustration.  

Put yourself in her shoes, and, back to the original question: how would YOU feel?

There was no question, this gal’s only remaining hope rested in the One she heard rumors about.  

One such rumor came from across the lake where a local crazy man lived secluded in tombs for years.  The word on the streets, that came drifting through her window, was that Jesus had healed him completely; and, now this man was dressed, in his right mind, and headed home to tell his story.  

More than anything, our gal "with the issue of blood" wanted to add her story to his.

In spite of her lack of energy, she made her way through the pressing crowds.  

This was no easy task.  

It took every ounce of effort she could muster.  

She couldn’t get quite near enough, and she didn’t want to risk being recognized, because as we've already read, if this happened, it would leave the Healer defiled, and any who might have accidentally bumped into her.  

So, she bent low, beneath the outstretched arms above, all grabbing for a piece of Jesus, and simply touched the hem of his garment.  

You know the rest of the story.  

Immediately, the bleeding stopped, and she was well. 

Jesus felt power go out of him.  

He demanded to know who touched him.  

At this point, our girl had very little to lose; so, trembling, she stepped forward and blurted out her whole story.  

I love the words of Jesus from The Message, 

“Daughter, you took a great risk trusting me.  Now you’re healed and whole…  Go in peace.” 

Here’s what I take away from this dear woman's story (I'm so thankful it's recorded in Scripture for us all, because while our problem may not be a bleeding problem, we've all had a "brokenness" problem):

Our brokenness, when it leads us to Jesus, also unwraps for us the key to great faith.  This woman’s desperation drove her to take a chance she wouldn’t have taken otherwise.  As long as she had something to “try next,” she could continue to look elsewhere for an answer. 
Being desperate just might be our biggest blessing.

Faith will always involve a risk.   
We have to face our greatest fears and be willing to surrender them for the sake of greater gain.  (BUT, take heart....Jesus ALWAYS HAS TIME FOR US!)

Jesus’ power is sufficient to break the chains of whatever holds us back from experiencing an abundant life.   
We simply have to make the first move to reach out...and, then, His grace takes over.  

Faith not only saves, but it brings healing to our hearts and draws us into God's family.   
For someone no one wanted to be near, Jesus' use of the word “daughter” mended years of agony brought about by isolation.

AND, we act on will always bring peace. Peace of heart, peace of mind, peace in life... It's a promise we can take to the bank! For someone who hadn't experienced peace in 12 years, or more, can you imagine what that felt like.... 

Did this woman deserve her healing?  No; and, neither do we! 

What the "woman with the issue of blood" received is ours, too...simply because of our Savior's grace.

Reach out for His hem...


Thursday, October 14, 2021

My Story Matters, Rahab #2

By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. Hebrews 11:30-31.

Life Lessons from Rahab's story, Part 2 has to do with the scarlet cord - that scarlet cord she hung outside the window to identify her home. The scarlet cord that saved her life, and ultimately, the lives of her family.

In the gospel story, the scarlet cord represents the blood of Jesus...blood required to cover our sins.

Blood shed to pay the price for our freedom. 

That same covering of blood removes any shame the enemy would like to velcro to our souls, because of our past mistakes.

While I love the study and conclusions of shame researcher, Brené Brown, it's my opinion her results are somewhat lacking when it comes to fully, and completely, eliminating shame. 

Ms. Brown gives us great insights for walking through the muck and mire of shame (I certainly don't throw the baby out with the bath water). Her main points:
* don't silence shame - wrap words around shame - we need good COMMUNICATION


* find safe people to whom you can share your story - we need CONNECTION

* be kind to yourself; talk to yourself the way you would a friend - we need COMFORT
* we must learn to be truly vulnerable - it is through vulnerability we will develop COURAGE
* courage leads to CONFIDENCE

* confidence steps over shame and allows us to live in CREATIVITY (shame-gone)

These are good things...they are right...they are even Biblical. Yet they don't clean the soul. 

Only one thing completely cleans our souls... 

That's what the entire book of Leviticus is about. 

Moses gave God's instructions to the people: when you are defiled by sin, you must go to the temple. Bring or purchase a lamb. Give it to the priest. The priest will sacrifice it, take it before the Lord, and you will be washed clean from the blood. 

Done. ✓ Done. ✓ Done. ✓

The people believed Moses. They fact the outer courts of the temple were a bloody mess....continuously.

Yet, when the folks left, their belief in the WORDS OF THE LORD and the blood spilled were visible signs that they were cleansed. 


We don't sacrifice in our temples/churches anymore. I'm so thankful. I'd have to camp out at the temple. I'd be lamb-rich and penny-poor. 

Instead, the rest of the story is JESUS. 

The spotless lamb. 

The ONE who chose to die, once for all, to cleanse me of shame, for ALL TIME. 

Yes, I need communication, it's called REPENTANCE

I need CONNECTION, it's called BELIEVING on the Lord Jesus Christ

I need comfort, it's called SALVATION (past, present, and future tense). 

I need COURAGE, it's called the HOLY SPIRIT dwelling in me. 

I need CONFIDENCE, it's called a NEW IDENTITY in Christ... 

...and, I need CREATIVITY going forward, it's called MISSION.

The break down comes when I don't walk in belief that what Christ has done on my behalf is ENOUGH........


I go through the steps...

I acknowledge the truth with my head...

but, I must transfer it all to my heart. 

That's why we've been given a visible sign

Our sign is the cross. 

Again and again, when shame strikes, I must look at the CROSS (that's the one thing missing in Dr. Brown's list). 

When I look at the CROSS, SHAME FLEES!

P.S. The God (YHWH) Rahab believed was never too small in her eyes....

As a result, the Lord honored her with a place in the genealogy of her Savior. 


What if we truly believed (and lived as if we did) that we serve a BIG GOD? 

How might the Lord use us? 

My Story Matters: Rahab

 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. Hebrews 11:30-31.

This past weekend, I spoke at a women's retreat for a church from Lewiston, Idaho. 

Fifty years ago, I spent a summer in that area, and over the course of the summer made a decision that would affect my life first for the worse, ultimately for the best.

Fortunately, what began a downhill slide, quickly changed course after living (& surviving) a nightmarish experience as the result of my bad choices.  

...but, following the nightmare, another turn of events and a "better choice," brought me into relationship with Jesus...and a life change I will NEVER REGRET!

However, for years, I wrestled with my worthiness...and, my identity in Christ.

With that intro, I now turn to an unlikely woman of faith whose story drove home to me the basis for settling both those issue: the story of Rahab, the harlot. 

Every time Rahab is mentioned in the Scriptures, the word prostitute is used to identify her. 

However, Rahab is also the only woman mentioned in the Hebrews passage that we refer to as God’s Hall of Faith (her complete story is told in Joshua 2 and 4 - please take a minute to re-read her story); and, she shows up in Matthews lineage of Jesus! 

Rahab’s portrait hangs next to some prominent folk: Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses... Her story is always told in connection with the battle of Jericho, where the walls “came-a tumbling down.” 

Rahab’s life was spared because she gave safe haven to Joshua’s spies, then helped them escape over the walls of Jericho. 

What did I learn from her that I can pass on to you?

Because if you're like me, the battle for our identity in Christ rises up randomly and often. 

First, Rahab’s story reminds me that no one is beyond the long arm of God’s reach. We don’t know her entire story. We read nothing of what happened to bring her to the place of prostitution, but I know one thing: No one grows up hoping to become one. 

I, thankfully, don’t hear any of my little grand-daughters’ saying, “I sure hope one day I’ll be a pretty prostitute.” They do, however, want to be Cinderella, or more likely, Elsa: 

When we’re little we all want to be beautiful princesses and marry the handsome prince, living happily ever after. Rahab had a happy ever-after-ending, but she didn’t have a great beginning. 

As a speaker at women's events, I'm often reminded that desperation typically brings a woman to the place Rahab found herself when the spies stayed in her home. 

Now, don’t think that the spies were looking for something other than information about the city. Rahab lived “on the city wall.” The wall housed the hub of activity in every ancient city. We can speculate how Rahab got such a prominent home, but all we really know is that her house was open for the multiple businesses that kept her surviving: a bed and breakfast, a flax business, and her other business. Rahab’s home was simply a convenient location for gathering information.

Every good story has a problem. Rahab had a big one. Looking out over the wall across the river, she could see the Israelites on the move. They were almost on her doorstep. The stories about them had tumbled down over the years from one generation to the next. Rahab believed those stories. She’d heard about their God – about what he had done for them at the Red Sea. She knew how he’d provided and cared for them over the 40 years of caravanning through the wilderness. She was no dumb woman. She understood they were coming back to take their land – the same land that Abraham had been promised. If that unseen God could obliterate the army of the great Pharaoh, what would he do in her little community? 

Rahab believed in a BIG GOD.

That belief gave her courage and conviction, and the hope that her life could be saved. 

When we believe in a BIG GOD, we act on the faith we have. 

Our convictions have feet....and it changes how we look at God, His Word (especially what He declares to be true of those of us who are in Christ), and most of all we live out of what we are assured!!!

Here is the baton of faith I believe Rahab desires to pass on to us:

If God is small, I will always fear people. That will lead to approval addiction, and people pleasing. But, when God is big – nothing matters but pleasing him. My identity will be connected to my God (even if at one time I was a prostitute).

If God is small, I will always be the center of my universe. But, when God is big, others become more important and my life becomes one of service.

If God is small, I will always try to seek my agenda for life, to manipulate things to make them what I want them to be like. But, when God is big, I will walk in his ways – for his ways are always right (Hos 14:7), and I will find fulfillment, peace and joy.

It’s your turn. You make application: If God is small, I will _________________________ (you fill in the blank); but, when God is big, I will _____________________.

There's one other lesson from Rahab - 

That one's next week. 😀

For now...ponder this one thought with me. 🤔

Thursday, October 7, 2021

My Story Matters, Eve, Part 2

 Now, the serpent was craftier than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman, “for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

There is no intention, here, to beat up Eve...

Eve often lives inside of me, so that would be.........well, stupid!

However, there are still some concerns that I think we need to reflect on, and questions we need to ask ourselves as we create our future life-stories. So, with very little introduction, here we go.

Our adversary, the devil, is certainly crafty 1 Peter 5:8. 

Believe me, we need to be watchful, because, the enemy, certainly is! 

He watches us closely; and, reads our body language extremely well. 

We really don’t have to say what’s on our minds (remember he can’t read minds!), he just seems to know; and, I believe he saw that longing for the fruit in Eve’s eye… her "NEED" for MORE...

So, of course, that’s what he targeted. He's so good at shooting those fiery darts of temptation right at our greatest area of weakness.

Then – without being totally anti-God, the enemy of our souls twists the truth of God’s words, and gift wraps his lies in pretty packages. 

It’s hard not to take the bite! 

It all seems so reasonable and so delectable! 

After all, it LOOKED so good...and, as an added benefit, she just discovered she could be like God. 

Undoubtedly, Eve was asking herself, “Why not?” 

What Eve didn’t realize was that her belief system was on trial. 

What did she really believe about her God? About his word? About her place in His world?

And, snap, just like that, Eve bit into Satan’s lies – hook, line and sinker; and, she was sunk. 

While she knew the good of the garden, up to that point Eve knew not the evil. 

Immediately, Eve's open mouth was filled with wormy words she’d never experienced: guilt, shame, separation, fear, confusion, pain... 

Her eyes were opened, too, as were Adam’s. 

They knew nakedness. 

Not just a nakedness of body, but a nakedness that revealed the ugliness of their souls. 

That’s when fear gave birth to panic when they heard God in the garden...and so they hid.

Lest we think God didn’t really know what was going on, remember, He is omniscient. 

He knew. 

The questions He asked were pointed and designed to illicit a truthful confession. 

The Lord God wasn't looking for blame, or excuse-making, or justification. 

He still isn't when He sends His sweet Spirit to convict us...

No, confession is designed for the purpose of ownership, the cleansing of hearts, and an invitation to come out of hiding. 

Confession: God's best gift for elimination of shame!

(No wonder the enemy wants to eliminate sin from our vocabularies today, and twist shame in our hearts.)

First, Adam and Eve felt the need to try everything but confession; but, ultimately, the truth spilled forth, along with some serious consequences. 

No, they did not die, thanks to the Lord God, who took one of His creation, spilled its blood, and covered the nakedness of their souls. 

However, they were forced to leave paradise. 

Never again would they walk with God in the cool of the day;

...but when they left, they did so as the “apple of God’s eye.” 

They added precious new words to their vocabulary: 




& free!

What can we learn from Eve (and Adam)?

1. Satan will always attack our weaknesses.

2. He will always use lies, twisted truth, in order to so.

3. Believing those lies will ultimately change our behavior...and not for the better.

4. Our response (or, behavior) will always lead to hidden-ness, and we will find ourselves trapped.

5. The only way out is completely opposite of the way we got in: truthful confession. 

First we take ownership for our “stuff” (sin). 

Next, we surrender ourselves back on the altar as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12:1). 

Finally, we study His words, carefully, to correct our thinking and renew our minds (Romans 12:2). 

Then, we will know the will of God – the good, pleasing, and perfect will.

Hard stuff? 


The good news is – this is the most life transforming truth you and I will ever receive!