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Death grip!

What are you clinging to in life or what is clinging to you?

"...because she thought, 'If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.' Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering." Mark 5:25-34 [see also Luke 8:43-48 & Matthew 9:20-22 ]

This is the story of the woman in the Bible that was desperate for Jesus' healing touch! The Bible says that she had spent all of her livelihood on physicians "but could not be healed by any". In other words, she had exhausted ALL of her resources, knowledge and ability and that of the doctors' as well - to no avail. In fact, the book of Mark says that her condition got even worse.

On this particular day, Jesus and the disciples were ministering along the Sea of Galilee, and a multitude waited for Him along the seashore. When Jesus and the disciples reached the shore and got out of the boat, the bible says, "the multitude welcomed Him, for they were all waiting for Him". Later it says that "the multitude thronged Him." They squeezed in close and followed Him as He walked through the crowd along the shore and through the city. I can just see the disciples trying to protect Him as they walked, probably telling everyone to "get back", "back up...let the Man breath". You've seen people do that today when a "celebrity" arrives somewhere. The crowd rushes in and throngs him or her because they want to be close to them in hopes of getting their autograph or a picture. These people may not have wanted His autograph or a picture, but they definitely wanted something from Jesus.

When the woman with the issue of blood heard about Jesus and saw Him walking through the crowd, she knew she had to get to Him in order to be healed. She had come to the end of herself. There was just one problem - the towns-people knew about her issue because she had been dealing with it for twelve years. She had tried one doctor after another and we all know how word gets around. And because of her particular "issue", she was considered unclean by her community. As a matter of fact, according to Jewish Law, if she were to touch another person, they too would be considered "unclean". [Lev. 15:25-27] Try to imagine the shame she must have lived with, day in and day out.

This woman risked everything that day - she risked being publicly called out, shamed and ridiculed by the others if she touched them, never mind the faith and courage it must have taken to reach out and "touch" Jesus, the Teacher and Healer. What if He rejected and publicly ridiculed her? The Bible says, "she came behind Him and touched His garment...". I'm sure she was trying to keep a low profile, but she was determined to be healed that day! Her Healer had arrived, and she was not going to miss this opportunity. Not only did He not reject her, after she touched His garment and He looked around to see who had done so, asking aloud, "Who touched Me?", the Bible says, "...the woman fearing and trembling...fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth." And when He saw her, "He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction.'” [Mark 5:34] Jesus didn't ask "who touched me?", because He didn't know...He knows all things. He most likely asked, in order to make the woman's faith in Him publicly known to all that day...and still today! We're still encouraged by that story and talking about it some 2000+ years later.

Have you ever been that desperate for Jesus' touch? Have you ever felt or been accused of being "unclean"? Have you ever come to the end of yourself and risked everything for your own healing?

I remember the day I made my own way through a crowd on an Easter Sunday morning in a First Baptist Church. I had been sitting and listening to God's Word preached week after week for two years. But that day - that glorious day, my eyes were opened, and for the first time, I saw Jesus for who He was - my Savior, Redeemer and Healer. I knew that He could heal me, if I would only come to Him!

I too had an "issue of blood" and needed healing, but my "issue" was Sin and I needed The Blood of Jesus to wash over me, heal me and set me free! The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” But it also says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” [Romans 8:23/ 10:9]

I didn't feel worthy “to be saved”, and would have preferred to keep a low profile, like the woman in the bible, because I didn't want the crowd looking at me or judging me, but I had come to the end of myself and had exhausted all of my own resources! So, I risked everything - ridicule, shame and judgement as I made my way through that crowded church service. In fear and trembling, I made my way to the preacher, with tears flowing that I could not have stopped if I wanted to. It was an ugly cry, but I know - it was a beautiful cry to my Savior! I literally felt the weight of the world, the weight of my sin, lifted off my shoulders that morning as I told the preacher that I believed in Jesus Christ and that I was asking Him to come into my heart and be Lord of my life. [John 3:16] I will never forget that moment. I had so desperately been searching and longing for His touch my whole life, but I didn't realize it until that morning. Jesus had “come alive” in my own heart that Easter Sunday. It took me two years of sitting in the church and hearing about Him to accept the truth of God's Word, and receive the Gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Until that morning, I had thought it all too good to be true. I was twenty-nine years old.

You see, I was adopted at two months of age, and unfortunately, I was told and made to believe from the time I was a small child, that I was unloved, unwanted and unworthy of love. You could say that I was made to feel “unclean”, just as the woman in the Bible. And as a result of my faulty self-image, I certainly did not feel worthy of that kind of love; Agape, God-love! Sacrificial, unconditional, indescribable Love! But, that glorious Easter Sunday, it was as if I was the only person in that church - me and the Lord. I cannot tell you what the Preacher said that morning; all I knew was that Jesus Christ had opened the eyes of my heart and when the invitation was made to come forward, I made my way through the crowded church, and grabbed hold of the hem of His garment! I haven't let go since, and never will, and thank God the Bible says nor will He ever let go of me! And just as He did in the story of the woman in the Bible, Jesus called me "daughter" that day. And for a girl who had felt like a throw-away orphan her whole life, that day, I met my Savior and my Heavenly Father and I was adopted into His family.

The woman in the Bible with the issue of blood probably didn't feel worthy of Jesus' healing touch either, but she knew He was the only way [John 14:6] she could ever be healed and made whole. So she chose, by faith in Him, to grab hold of His garment and the Bible says, "she was made well from that hour". [Mark 9:22]

Have you ever grabbed hold of the hem of Jesus' garment? What are you clinging to in this life? Do you have a death grip on anything or anyone? Or does something or someone have a death grip on you?

Maybe you have a death grip on money or material things and are relying on that to bring security, satisfaction and joy in life. Maybe it's a spouse, a significant other or even your children. Maybe a job, career or your many intellectual accomplishments. Maybe it's your physical appearance. Maybe you have a death grip on unforgiveness toward someone who hurt you. Maybe there's something that has a death grip on you - some besetting sin, habit or addiction or something you did ten years ago or just yesterday. Maybe you can't forgive yourself and you truly believe that there is no hope for you; that you could NEVER be free from whatever "it" is. God's Word tells us, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins AND purify us from all unrighteousness." [1 John 1:9] Notice – HE does the “purifying” as we walk with Him.

The things is - people lose jobs overnight. All it takes is one phone call from the corporate office or a recession, and you're out of a job, career or business. Houses burn down, cars wear out and our loved ones leave us and/or die, often times unexpectedly. We're told in the Bible that the apostle Paul had much to brag about in his own right when it came to intellectual accomplishments. He had the right pedigree, if you will, and he garnered the much lauded Jewish credentials, yet after coming to Christ, he considered them all as "rubbish" or "dung" in comparison to his relationship with and the knowledge of Christ. Intellectual prowess will not save your soul. And as for our physical appearances, the Bible says, "beauty is fleeting", and let me tell you, we are only twenty-something for about a minute! And unforgiveness, well, that's a sin - and it will hold you hostage and keep you from experiencing true freedom in Christ for as long as you hold on to it.

I called this post, "Death Grip", because anything we hold onto more tightly than Jesus Christ, will ultimately lead to death - death to peace, joy, true satisfaction in life and ultimate freedom! "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it." [Mark 8:35] It's only when we loosen our death grip on everything else in this world and grab hold of Jesus Christ, that we truly have life, and have it abundantly! Eternal life doesn't begin when we physically die, it begins the moment we die to self, and receive true Life, the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, and cling to Him - daily. Then and only then do we even begin to really live! [Acts 2:21]

I hope that your hope is in the person of Jesus Christ! Sure, God allows us to enjoy some of the things this world has to offer, but Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." [Matthew 6:33] And yes, we are to "love our neighbor", which is everyone else in the world, including our family. But when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’..." [Luke 10:27]

Enjoy life and all the blessings of God. Love your spouse, your children, other family members and all people - Jesus commands us to do that, but don't put ALL of your security in those relationships, or anything else for that matter. Instead, put your trust and faith IN the Person of Jesus Christ first and foremost, and all other relationships will be better because of it..."all these things will be added to you."

MY PRAYER - Father God, I praise and worship you for who you are. I thank you for your Son Jesus Christ who so loved us and gave Himself for us. I thank you for His finished work on the cross. I thank you and praise you for being ALL that we need in this life and the life to come. I lift up my sister or brother who might be reading this post and I ask you Lord to draw them unto you; for salvation if they do not yet know Your Son as Savior and for sanctification if they are already a believer.

Father God, as Paul prayed for the Ephesians, I pray over us today that, "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to [us] the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, [that] the eyes of [our] understanding being enlightened; that [we] may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe..." [Ephesians 1:17-21]

I pray all these things in the holy and precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen

[ if you do not know Jesus Christ as Savior - visit this site - ]

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