Healing

Do You Want to Get Well?

Do You Want to Get Well?

In John 5:6, we encounter a profound moment with Jesus, that speaks to the human experience of longing for healing and transformation.

This verse takes us to a scene where a man, who had been ill for thirty-eight years, encounters Jesus at the pool of Bethesda.

Desperation

Imagine the man by the pool, his eyes filled with longing and his heart burdened by years of suffering. John 5:6 paints a vivid picture of human desperation – a yearning for change, for relief, for a new lease on life.

We all have areas in our lives that need healing, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual; a desperation to be free of a debilitating hindrance that has plagued our live for years!

Question of Willingness

The question Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to get well?” is intriguing. It’s as if Jesus is probing the depths of the man’s heart, searching for his readiness to embrace transformation.

This question resonates with us too. Are we truly open to healing, or have we become accustomed to our struggles? Jesus invites us to examine our own willingness to be made whole.

Invitation to Rise

Jesus’ command to “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk” is an invitation to embrace the possibility of healing and change; a loving hand extended to lift us from our places of brokenness.

This scene encourages us to step out in faith, to let go of the familiar and venture into the unknown territory of healing and transformation.

Wholeness

John 5:6 speaks to the universal human longing for healing and restoration. Just as Jesus offered wholeness to the man by the pool, He offers it to you as well.

Approach Jesus with the same openness, recognizing your need for healing and responding to His invitation to rise, walk, and embrace the transformative power of His love and grace.

Posted by onthesolidrock in Daily Inspiration
Bitter or Better – You Get to Choose

Bitter or Better – You Get to Choose

Anger is an emotion we all have, and how we express it is very important. Uncontrolled anger quickly turns to rage, a form of abuse.

Anger, when properly controlled helps shape new ideas, it is a healthy mechanism used to set boundaries and keep us from over reacting to situations. You may recall Moses becoming angry many times, as he encountered difficult people, and God used those moments to help shape the man Moses, and indeed an entire nation of people.

Uncontrolled anger turns to rage, and rage is very destructive, often becoming addictive. Anger in and of itself, is not bad. When we are faced with a situation that causes us to become angry, we need to talk it out, find solutions, set boundaries.

Unresolved anger turns to bitterness

The Bible tells us;

Ephesians 4:29-32

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Did you catch that? “Get rid of all bitterness  . . .”

Let’s look at this word for a moment.

The root word used for bitterness is:

Pikros             pik-ros’          (piercing); sharp (pungent), that is, acrid – bitter.

Bitterness is a powerful explosive

I grew up in Cameron County, a rather remote area in North Central Pennsylvania, the heart of the Pa. Wilds. Residents are familiar with the term Picric.

Early in the settlement of Cameron County, there was an abundance of Hemlock; it was everywhere. The hemlock trees were debarked, and the hemlock bark processed to produce tannin, in turn used in the process of tanning hides.

Picric (bitter) acid helped pull the tannin out of the hemlock bark. Since there was an abundance of Picric acid, also used to produce the powerful explosive TNT, factories sprung up across Cameron County in the 1800’s.

So . . . “Pikros” or bitterness is a powerful explosive, and the Bible says to get rid of it . . . all of it!

Bitterness usually manifests in three ways, bitterness toward God, toward others, and toward oneself.

Bitterness towards God

Bitterness towards God can happen many different ways, and I have seen it happen many times. A precious loved one is taken away, and there are no clear answers.

Someone prays for a healing, and the object of his or her prayers is suddenly gone!

Someone is faithful to God, serving the church, generous in giving, yet end up losing their job, the house is now in foreclosure, and they are about to lose everything!

The natural question in situations like these are; “why would a loving God allow this to happen?

It is easy to fall into the trap and begin to question God’s love, His mercy, and His wisdom. Perhaps you have been there!

You begin to feel angry at God, and you begin to shrink back from Him. You see God blessing others but you feel cursed and wonder why God is passing you by. I have heard people say; “when is it my time to be blessed!”

Your anger towards God grows, and you become resentful, and question everything God does, you even begin to question the very existence of God. A prime example of this, is found in the Book of Acts.

Acts 8:9-23

Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

Simon had a bitter heart because he saw the real power of God being used in common everyday folks and he wanted it!

Bitterness towards others

The second way we become bitter is towards others. This usually begins with an offense and a hurt that is not forgiven.  Often this takes a lifetime to develop and can start at an early age. A child, abused emotionally or physically, finding no way to express the pain; become angry, and resentful to their parents or toward others.

I have seen families devastated when a cherished family member passes away. Heirlooms divided unevenly, the estate, managed improperly, and someone gets hurt, resentment sets in. As time progresses, the hurt festers, and bitterness of heart, overtake the person and they become toxic.

When a family lives with a bitter person, life can be almost unbearable! The bitter one cannot truly love, rarely if ever says the words “I love you,” unless spoken with an unhealthy dose of sarcasm.

The bitter person cannot find it within himself or herself, to express hope and encouragement to anyone, life revolves around them and their pain. The bitter heart always sees itself as the victim, the one who is always hurt, and if not hurt now, will most certainly hurt again soon.

The bitter person is almost always angry about something, works hard at producing guilt feelings in others, and when those they must live with distance themselves, more anger and guilt comes rolling out. A bitter person is full of poison and is toxic like picric, an explosion waiting to happen!

Bitterness to oneself

The last form of bitterness expresses inwardly, toward self. Some people see themselves as ugly, sinful, and disgusting. They have committed crimes against God and man, and simply cannot forgive themselves.

They feel as though God could never forgive them for the things they have done. I have encountered many a person with this affliction; when asked; they often say something like; “I hope God will forgive me.” They have not yet believed that God could, or would forgive them.

For this person, God’s forgiveness is just a bridge too far. Many times this person will do works for God, hoping somehow to earn His forgiveness and love!

Bitterness of heart settles in, and in the end, without forgiveness received, the person’s eternal life is lost; a sad end indeed.

The Bible warns us about bitterness;

Hebrews 12:15

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Bitterness will defile many if left unchecked and if you are reading this today, and you know you have the symptoms of bitterness; then let’s get healed of this disease today!

Get free of bitterness, once and for all

To get started, we deal with bitterness toward God. The first step is to realize that we live in a fallen world; a world full of sin and destruction. Remember, bad things happen to good people, and just because we are Christians, does not exempt us from the brokenness of this broken world.

The Bible does give us hope though:

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

While there will be pain and suffering in this world, God is working in ways we may not see clearly. In the midst of great pain and suffering, ask God to lead you, hold tight to His hand.

As we encounter painful experiences in this broken world, rather than despise God, let’s ask Him if there is anything that can be discovered from this? Not that God instigated the pain, but rather, can God help me through this and help me learn something too, perhaps something to help another.

Remember the Scriptures . . .

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Many reading this have been through tremendous pain and suffering, yet you still love God! Could one of the blessings be that there is a way for you to comfort others who may be heading into a season of suffering?

Do not become bitter toward God, He is not your enemy, He is your salvation, trust Him, fall into His arms and love Him, let your bitterness toward Him dissolve!

Secondly, let’s deal with the bitterness toward others. Remember to make your anger temporary; recall Ephesians 4:26 “. . . do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”

Do not allow your anger to cause you to sin; make up your mind you will not do it!

Forgive and forget! Now I know this sounds simplistic, but it works. For someone reading this today, you have kept a running list of every hurt, every offense, and you have learned to nurse them; holding them dear, not realizing that the very thing you clutch to your heart is killing you and is a contagion to those around you!

First, forgive them. That means letting go of the right to retaliate! Give the outcome to God; let Him be the Judge, and the One who has the final say. In your forgiveness, be sure to get rid of all malice, give it up!

Stop wishing harm to those who harm you, stop it!

Once you have made up your mind to forgive; then forget. By forget I mean that you will never bring up the offense again.

A man was meeting with a marriage counselor and he said; “please help me, my wife is historical, she’s absolutely historical!” The doctor said; “Don’t you mean she is hysterical?” “No,” the man replied; “she is historical and is always bringing up the past.”

We will not forget the incident, and the scar may last for a lifetime, but when we forgive, we leave it alone and determine not to bring it back up.

One more thought on this; if you are in an abusive relationship and you have within your power the freedom to leave, then do so; God calls us to live in peace. I have known people who feel it is their duty to live in an abusive relationship, to suffer great pain and humiliation, only to end up bitter, resentful and lost; this is not God’s plan.

It is one thing to suffer for Christ and quite another to suffer for man; you must discern between the two, and make a decision.

Finally, let’s deal with bitterness toward oneself. To tackle this one, you need to believe God’s Word. If you do, then there is real hope, if you do not, then you will suffer a long life of bitterness and die without Christ.

Those who suffer bitterness toward themselves often wallow in self-pity. Many, who struggle in this way, have what we often refer to as a besetting sin, the one thing that always trips them up! They tend to live in a cycle of sin and self abasement.

The Bibles says something wonderful;

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Remember that God has provided everything you need for salvation, including the gift of forgiveness. If you have sinned, then confess it to God, tell Him about it! Once you do, then forgiveness comes, it’s over, and He will remember it no more.

Avoid not forgiving yourself, this makes you become as God in your life. Are you stronger, wiser and more powerful than God? I don’t think so! Let it go!

So, let’s get rid of all bitterness today! Make this the first day of a life without bitterness.

For those of you who have experienced bitterness of soul, this is not easy; it will cause tears and great pain. Bitterness has been part of your life, and living without it will be a frightful thing at first. However, to live with it, will cost you your soul, because there will not be one bitter soul in heaven and if you do not deal with it here, you don’t get to go there!

Time to cast bitterness into the sea

For some of you, you have accumulated a mountain of hurt, so much pain and suffering! You have carried it for years and years; it is time to bring it to God.

Mark 11:22-25

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.  “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

It is time to cast off the mountain of bitterness; when you, by faith, release this burden to the Lord, He will cast it away into the sea, and sweet water will begin flowing into your soul!

Posted by onthesolidrock, 0 comments
A Second Touch

A Second Touch

There is a sense today that the church; the people of God, are somewhat weary, tired and maybe even a little confused as to what to do in the face of ever increasing evil in this world. We are certainly living in what the Bible declares to be, “the last days.”

 

It is easy to drift off and lose sight of our anchor; when this happens, we need help, so today we ask God for that help.

 

Mark 8:22-25

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

 

Before meeting Jesus, we were all very much like this blind man. Oh, we could see with our eyes all right, but spiritually speaking, we were quite blind! We may have known a thing or two about God; we may have known that Christ was God’s Son.

 

Most of us know about Christmas and Easter, for some of us, it was the only two days of the year, that we really stopped for a moment to consider Christianity; even going so far as to set foot in church on one of those two days!

 

For most of us, that was the extent of our knowledge of God! We were quite blind . . . and for good reason; the Bible declares that the god of this age (satan) had blinded our minds . . .

 

2 Corinthians 4:4

 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

 

You see, satan did a wonderful job of keeping us in the dark; while we were without Christ and in unbelief, we could not see the truth, no matter how many times we heard it!

 

Then something miraculous began to take place. We began to feel something stirring inside; our heart touched in ways, we could not understand. The mention of God and the work of His Son Jesus began to spark an interest in us.

 

Maybe you heard a message on the radio or TV, perhaps at one of those annual church events you reluctantly attended.

 

You heard the dramatic message concerning your sin, and about Jesus mission to come to this earth and give His life as a ransom for yours; offering forgiveness for your life of sin. Drawn to Christ, you could not explain it. The Bible reveals an interesting truth about this . . .

 

John 6:44

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

 

As God drew you in, you realized that you were a sinner, not in a generic sense, but you felt it and knew it, to the point where you wanted to hide from God, yet He kept pulling you near. The Bible declares to us . . .

 

Romans 3:23

. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

 

This glaring truth stared you in the heart, and you knew that without some intervention you would be eternally lost and that there would be a high price to be paid for the sin you were enveloped in!

 

You became aware that if you persisted in this sinful state, you would be forever lost, with no hope of redemption! Again, the Bible reveals more truth . . .

 

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

It was at this crucial point that you decided to go “all in.”

 

You risked everything and trusted in Jesus! You went to Him burdened with guilt and perhaps shame for the way you lived your life. You fell at His feet, sorrowful for the way you lived your life, you told Him that you would repent and live for Him! You asked Jesus to come into your heart, into your life . . . and He did!

 

Romans 10:9-10

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

 

This you did, openly and freely, unashamed of your allegiance with Jesus. The people around you knew; there was no mistake, you changed, and not just a little, old habits discarded and new ways began to unfold!

 

The joy you began to feel was awesome; the reality that your sins, which were many; completely forgiven! You had fellowship and friendship with Jesus. You developed an unquenchable hunger for the words of God. You dove into the Bible like a starving man who just sat down for a Thanksgiving dinner!

 

Your hunger and passion to know more about this Jesus would cause you to skip meals, just so you could read, pray and learn more about Him! Nothing was about to come between you and Him!

 

  • Do you still have that desire?
  • Do you still hunger and thirst for His Word?
  • Have you lost any of that first love?

 

Does your heart still burn with the fire it once had, or are you like the man in the opening Scripture who saw people, but they looked like trees walking around. Is your vision blurred? If so, then you, like that man, may need a second touch from Jesus!

 

I know firsthand how this happens. At an early age, I came to believe in Christ; through a Sunday school, teacher my heart opened to the things of God, and I believed.

 

As God began to reveal Himself to me, I started reading the Bible daily. The Bible is not an easy Book to read, especially for an 11-year-old boy, but I was determined to know more about God.

 

As the years passed by and I became a teenager, I began to drift away from those moments with the Bible.It was not a sudden falling away, but a gradual, gentle slipping away; I hardly noticed it happening.

 

Then one day a handful of us, young teenagers at the time, decided to camp out one night. As we were getting ready to go camp, we decided that we would swipe a 6-pack of beer from my friend’s dad . . . and we did!

 

I recall with clarity, sitting under the train bridge in near the village we lived in, and as the sun was going down, we all guzzled down that 6-pack; it was awful, but we pretended that it was good! When I grabbed that beer, something stirred inside, there was a powerful voice beckoning me not to do it.

 

I realized later that it was the Holy Spirit of God who was trying to prevent the problems that were about to arise in my life! The peer pressure was too great and I gave in, just like the rest! That evening, I grieved the Holy Spirit of God!

 

As He gently tried to woo me back in His direction, I resisted. I wanted to spend my time the way I wanted, and I did not want God interfering! I wanted to be with my friends, I wanted to experience what they experienced!

 

Over the next few years, alcohol was not enough, and I found new and interesting friends, who had other things I could try . . . and I did! By the time I was 18 years old, I was a wreck!

 

However, even then, God was trying to get through to me, but I continued to resist Him. Each time I resisted, my heart would be hardened just a little bit more!

 

The farther from God I drifted, the worse I began to feel. The devil began to whisper in my ear, things like; “see, you are bad and God will never forgive you” or “you will never be good enough for God, so why try.” The Bible declares that satan is a liar . . .

 

John 8:44

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

 

Satan is a formidable foe, and he is always looking for ways to distract you from God. He will tempt you in a thousand different ways; his goal is to get your eyes off the things of God and onto the things of this world; if he can accomplish this, then he is well on the way to destroying your life.

 

There is great temporary pleasure in sin; the excitement and adrenaline it can produce are addictive. The spiritual side of sin is deadly. The feelings of guilt, shame and frustration can cripple you.

 

Sin is fun until you drink too much and while driving home, you hit a small child on a bike, taking a life. Sex is fun until you find out from the doctor that you have aids, or you find out you are pregnant and now you need to decide what your next steps are, taking a life, or allowing one to live! Drugs are fun until you see your friend lying dead from an overdose. 

 

As I continued through life, I began to believe the lie that God was done with me. I can still vividly remember sitting in a bar Jamestown New York one night. The bar tender was flipping through the channels; he stopped briefly on a station long enough, for me to see Billy Graham with that striking pose of his; arms crossed and one hand under his chin, and he declared; “what you need in your live is Jesus.”

 

I remember running out of that bar in tears; as much as I wanted Jesus, I thought I had sinned too much and had resisted Him too long!

 

  • Do you feel beyond forgiveness?
  • Do you feel like you will never live up to His expectations?

 

If you feel this way, then I have some good news for you! You see, after 18 years of running from God, He kept drawing me back to Himself. When I finally stopped long enough to turn around, He was standing right there, arms open; ready to forgive . . . and boy did I need forgiven!

 

Just like the blind man in the opening Scripture, I received a second touch from Jesus and I could see clearly.

 

  • How about you . . . is your vision blurred?
  • Are your spiritual eyes seeing clearly?
  • Do you need a second touch?

 

Perhaps, the hand of Jesus has never touched you, if so; this is your Day! Maybe you can relate to my story; you wandered off, never intending to go too far, but you lost your way and now you are hurt, confused by life, wondering where God is, and if He even really exists; He is here and would love to have a conversation with you!

 

If you want salvation, if you want restoration, if you want healing, whatever the case may be, please take a moment and talk to Him about it; it will be a turning point for you!

 

Satan wants you to miss the opportunity, he wants you to believe his lies, he wants you to wait until the next time, today is not right, he wants you to believe that God will not forgive you, remember, he is a liar!

 

Listen to the words of God Himself from the Book of Isaiah . . .

 

Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Holiness, Humility, Trust, 0 comments