Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

The Healer

Jesus_Heals_Man_With_Palsy

Man with palsy lowered to Christ by James Tissot on Christimages.org.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Is there anyone among us who has never sought healing for themselves or for loved ones? The pain and suffering that often accompany health issues are common to all people. Healing was one of the major signs that Jesus was the Messiah who was prophesied throughout the Old Testament. Throughout His ministry, Jesus healed physical defects, illness, injury and demon possession wherever He went. Matthew 9:36 describes Jesus’ heart towards people:

“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary (harassed) and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” (NKJV)

Health issues that cause pain and suffering may be a part of life in this fallen world, but this verse makes it clear that this is not what God wants for us. He hurts right along with us and cares deeply about our well-being. Jesus’ healing ministry also made it clear that God is indeed powerful enough to heal any infirmity and even raise the dead.

So why doesn’t God just waive His mighty hand and wipe away all sickness from this world? I would love to be healed and live forever here without pain or suffering, but this world is still fallen. The thought of living indefinitely in this world reminds me of the movie “Death Becomes Her” in which two vain women drank a magic potion that gave them eternal life. The problem was that even though they could not die, they could definitely get dinged up over the years.

This brings us to two points to consider: first of all, if we belong to Jesus then this world is definitely not our home, but rather our current assignment. We need to understand that when we do get to our Heavenly home, we will be healed and will get to live forever without dings!

The second point to remember is that every single person who Jesus healed when He walked the earth eventually died. If we spend our existence focused on our own physical needs rather than sharing the hope of Jesus’ eternal healing with others who are hurting, we short change ourselves and may even deny others the opportunity of eternal life through Jesus. Focusing outwards may bring us to a place in which our infirmities are eclipsed by our compassion for the spiritual needs of others.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon. 

A Man of Prayer

Christ_in_Garden_Gethsemane_Hofmann

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane painting by Heinrich Hofmann on Christimages.org.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Just as reading the Old Testament chronologically puts the events and people of the ancient years into a different perspective, reading the New Testament in the timeline of events also gives a fresh outlook on the life of Jesus and the history of the early Church. Jesus’ ministry began with His water baptism by immersion and then His departure into the wilderness to fast and pray for 40 days. (Matthew 3:13-4:11)

The accounts of Jesus healing a man in the Temple on the Sabbath in Matthew 12, Mark 3 and Luke 6 each provide different insights into the encounter with the religious leaders over the question as to whether it was within the Law to heal a man on the Sabbath. Matthew details the tongue lashing that He gave the Pharisees; Mark points out that Jesus became angry at the challenge (hence the tongue lashing) but Luke 6:12 says that “…in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (NKJV)

Try to imagine the anguish that Jesus must have experienced when the religious leaders who were responsible for the souls of the people became angry and plotted to kill Jesus for making a disabled man whole. Even though He laid into them and warned them about the consequences of their disbelief, He still loved them and wanted nothing else than for them to place their trust in Him, the Messiah who came to save them.

The fact that Jesus withdrew often to the mountain to pray all night shows that even Jesus needed to spend great quantities of quality time with His Heavenly Father. If that is what Jesus needed to get Him through those stressful days, we need to do the same thing to get through our stressful times. Hopefully, nobody is plotting to kill you for the good things you do, but our lives are marked with uncertainty, disappointment, betrayal and brokenness. Don’t know how to pray or what to say? The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) gives a great model which can be broken down into the acronym ACTS:

  • Adoration: praise God for loving us and listening to us and for being powerful enough to act in our lives and in the lives of others.
  • Confession: tell God what you have done wrong and ask Him to forgive you. This is also a great time to forgive those who have hurt you and release any hurt feelings you might have.
  • Thanksgiving: give God gratitude for all His many blessings. Count them out!
  • Supplication: this is one of those “Christianese” terms that means to ask God for what you need and want. This is also a good opportunity to pray for other people, our nation and the world.

Just like Jesus, we need to spend lots of quality time with God the Father and trust in the wisdom, provision, strength and peace that only He can give.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon. 

Walls Come Down

Brokenwall

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

One of the first things Jesus did when He began His ministry on earth was to break down the existing social, cultural and economic barriers of His time. When Jesus revealed His Divinity to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, He broke through several barriers:

• Racism: the Samaritans were descendants of the Jews who had married Babylonians and others during the Captivity. They were hated by the Jews and considered less than human. Racism was never a value taught by Jesus, but the church somehow missed that queue. We need to make sure to correct our wrong attitudes towards people different from ourselves so that we can do our part to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)

• Sexism: By simply speaking with this woman, Jesus demonstrated the importance of women in His kingdom to a world that considered women to be chattel. As we continue reading through the New Testament, we will see how several women were counted as Jesus’ friends. There is a clear leadership hierarchy set up within the Church, but don’t ever think that teaching children or serving the aged members is any less important to the overall mission of the Gospel than preaching from the pulpit or being an elder. The most important characteristic of a follower of Christ is to be willing to serve Him in any way that brings Him glory and honor. Remember, it’s all about Jesus!

• Judgment/elitism: This Samaritan woman was an outcast even among her own outcast people because of her life choices. In verses 16-18, Jesus spoke truth into her life without condemnation. What resulted from this conversation is that many in a town of outcasts came to a saving knowledge of the Savior even before the religious elites. We need to see people in every walk of life as Jesus sees them: precious in His eyes, valuable creations who need to know the truth of His love and salvation. Telling them about the loving Savior and what He did for us is our job; judgment is reserved for God alone.

In just one conversation with one person, Jesus showed His church how we should treat those with whom we come into contact. Take some time to reflect on your own feelings towards other races, lifestyles and the other gender (including those who claim alternate genders) and then read John 4 and picture how He would interact with them in person. That is how Jesus wants us to treat others.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon. 

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