Monday, November 20
Genesis 1:26-27, 31
Then God said, “Let us make humans in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the wild animals of the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humans in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them… God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Some of this week’s devotions have been shared in previous devotions on healing. This past Sunday, Chain of Lakes shared a healing service. The service was part of an emphasis on healing that is taking place right now in the congregation.
As humans each of us is created in the image of God. We all carry the “imago dei” or the image of God within us. One spiritual exercise each of us could do is to look in the mirror and say, “I am carrying the image of God within me. I reflect God.”
This really is a vision of who God wants and desires for us to be. We carry with us the “divine stuff.” Of course, this does not mean that we are God or that we are to act like a God. What it does mean is we reflect God’s goodness and mercy and compassion with others. The ultimate reality is we express and share and reflect God to others.
This might seem a lot for us to process, but God will help us. Our task is to reflect what is already inside our inner spirit.
This is the vision of healing. The vision is that we come back to fully expressing and fully reflecting the image of God.
You might imagine a prism reflecting many different colors as the light shines through it. This is us! We carry the image of God within us, and when the light of God is reflected through us people can experience a picture of beauty.
What does it mean to you that you are created in the image of God? How does this make an impact in your life and the life of people around you? Please share.
Tuesday, November 21
Then Moses ordered Israel to set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went for three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter. That is why it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” He cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood; he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the Lord made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he put them to the test. He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in his sight, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will not bring upon you any of the diseases that I brought upon the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you.”
What image of God do you carry with you? When someone asks you to share the picture of God that you have, what does that picture look like?
Hopefully you envision God as a healer. In this story the Israelites had just escaped the onrushing Egyptians. The Israelites had made it through alive. It was a glorious time—one of the most powerful experiences of anyone that is expressed in the Old Testament.
Right after this powerful story the people go without water for three days. Then when they came upon water it was bitter. Moses cried out to God and God showed them a piece of wood. When the wood was in the water the water was sweet. The people could live.
This is what God wants to do in our lives—God wants us to bring sweetness into our reality.
Do we see God as someone who wants to bring sweetness and ultimately healing? Is this an image of God that you carry with you? Please share your thoughts about God being sweet.
Wednesday, November 22
He came down with them and stood on a level place with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases, and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.
Many times in the New Testament Jesus would have large numbers of people come to him with a desire to experience healing. We don’t know how many people came to Jesus in this story. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to think that five or even ten thousand people approached Jesus.
The people wanted to experience healing from their diseases.
Jesus offered much more than physical healing. He helped those who were suffering spiritually and emotionally. Jesus offered healing to those who were troubled with unclean spirits. (Luke 6:18)
It’s important to note the difference between being cured and being healed. The people weren’t cured of the physical maladies that they experienced—they were healed. They were literally released from the pain that these wounds caused. The pain of these wounds might happen again. But for this moment the people were healed.
Can you imagine what it would have been like to be part of that crowd? Share what you think the experience would have been like.
Thursday, November 23
Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. Just then there came a man named Jairus, a leader of the synagogue. He fell at Jesus’s feet and began pleading with him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. As he went, the crowds pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from a flow of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, and immediately her flow of blood stopped. Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds are hemming you in and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I noticed that power had gone out from me.” When the woman realized that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him and how she had been immediately healed. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” While he was still speaking, someone came from the synagogue leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.” When Jesus heard this, he replied, “Do not be afraid. Only believe, and she will be saved.” When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James and the child’s father and mother.
Everyone was weeping and grieving for her, but he said, “Do not cry, for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the hand, he called out, “Child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and she stood up at once, and he directed them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astounded, but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.
Happy Thanksgiving! This was the Scripture from this past Sunday.
Jesus ultimately healed two people in this story. In the middle of this story, we hear about a woman who intentionally touched the garment of Jesus, so she could be healed. She had lived with a hemorrhage for twelve years.
This is a long time to suffer with this physical malady.
When Jesus knew what had happened, he told the woman that her faith had made her well. This is a statement that Jesus shared quite often in the New Testament. Her faith in Jesus had brought her to the place where she wanted to touch his garment and experience healing.
This is more than a story of magic. It’s a story of the woman’s faith in Jesus. Her faith led her to seek out Jesus. She never gave up on the possibility that she could experience healing.
Often when people suffer, they turn away from Jesus. In this case, even twelve years of suffering did not turn the woman away from God or Jesus.
What are your thoughts on the example of the woman? Please share.
Friday, November 24
One day while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem were sitting nearby, and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a stretcher. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, “Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the one who was paralyzed— “I say to you, stand up and take your stretcher and go to your home.” Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen incredible things today.”
This story happened early in Luke’s gospel. A crowd of people were so concerned about their friend who was paralyzed that they brought him to Jesus. And even when a large crowd prevented the people from bringing the man to Jesus, this did not deter them. They brought him to a roof, dug a hole, and then let the man down through the hole, so he would encounter Jesus.
Jesus didn’t heal the man of his physical problems immediately. He declared that the man’s sins were forgiven.
This might seem to be an odd statement by Jesus. But if we see Jesus as someone who combined the spiritual and the physical it is not an odd statement. Jesus offered healing to the man’s body and to the man’s spirit. He was starting by healing his spirit. “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 6:23)
Jesus was a both/and leader. He healed both the man’s physical problems and his spiritual ones.
What are your thoughts about this story? Please share.
Saturday, November 25
They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So, throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
Bartimaeus wouldn’t keep quiet about his desire to encounter Jesus. Even when the people were shushing him, Bartimaeus cried, out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Even after he was told to be quiet, he shouted out this phrase even louder!
When Bartimaeus encountered Jesus, Jesus asked Bartimaeus what he wanted. Bartimaeus wanted to see. Jesus healed him of his blindness.
Once again Jesus shared that it was the faith that made someone well, that healing is more than a physical cure. The faith of Bartimaeus was significant in his own healing.
Do you see faith and healing connected? Please share.