Following Me

Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life… (Psalm 23:6, Amplified)

Because of Who He is, and Who He is to me, I expect to be pursued by only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love.

Because of Who He is, and Who He is in me, every where I go, I will leave in my wake His goodness, His mercy, and His unfailing love. They follow me.

That which I have freely received, I freely give.

HIV Healing

I know the title of this blog post may seem a little odd, but as I have monitored the hits on my blog for almost two years now, this is the search term that shows up almost daily. People looking for answers, looking for healing from a deadly disease. I’d like to address those people in need of healing, no matter what the disease, in today’s post and in future posts to come.

Let’s take a look at the Gospel (the Good News) found in the book of John chapter five beginning in verse two.

Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever diseases he had.

And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked…

Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

This is one of the most beautiful accounts in the Bible. Why do I say that? Oh, just let me tell you what all is in this passage.

In verse two we are introduced to a Hebrew word Bethesda. Bethesda is made up of two Hebrew words bet, which means house, and hesda, which means mercy. The place where the sick came to be healed was at the house of mercy. This man was healed at the house of mercy. What is mercy for? It’s for when you didn’t do it all right. You made mistakes. You did some things maybe you shouldn’t have then mercy comes along to make it all right.

The Hebrew word hesda (mercy) comes from the root word hesed. What is hesed? God’s unfailing love. He has mercy on us, because He loves us. He wants to have mercy on you, because He loves you, no matter what you’ve done or haven’t done.

After the man is healed he runs into Jesus again. Jesus tells him at this time to sin no more, so that nothing worse comes on him. This man had sin in his life, but it didn’t stop him from getting healed. What is that? Mercy.

Jesus didn’t address the man’s sin until after he was healed. He then addresses it later. Why? Because He loves the man and he doesn’t want him to have anything worse to come upon Him. Was He saying, “I’ll make you worse if you mess up again”? NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! He was saying, “Sin has natural consequences and I don’t want that for you, because I love you.”

One part of the passage I didn’t share was where he was asked who healed him. The man didn’t know. He didn’t even know Jesus and he was healed. What’s that? That’s mercy. That’s God’s unfailing love at work.

Throughout the Gospel accounts men and women in need of healing came to Him and said, “Son of David have mercy on me.” Every person who uttered those words was healed. Their faith was not in their own faith, in their own abilities, or in their own works, their faith was in His mercy. Do you believe He is merciful?

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever. (Psalm 136:1, Amplified)

It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23, KJV)

…He delights in mercy… (Micah 7:18, Amplified)

He is merciful and He always will be, because He is love (1 Jn 4:8) and He always will be. He delights in mercy. He’s not put out with you because He has to show His mercy to you yet again. He delights in showing mercy.

His mercies are new every morning. The mercy you need today was waiting for you when you woke up this morning. It’s a free gift. Just say, “Lord, have mercy on me and heal me.” Then rest in the fact that He is faithful. He has heard you. He loves you and He delights in showing you mercy. Be healed in Jesus’ Name.

A Heart of Compassion

I’ve spent much of the day thinking about and praying for an elderly gentleman I don’t even know. Who is he? Why am I praying for him?

He is a man I saw for the first time last night and have never personally met. As I stood outside a restaurant after dinner with friends, I watched as the elderly man had trouble figuring out how to turn the lights off on his car. My heart was overwhelmed with compassion for him. I wish now that I had allowed that compassion to move me to speak to him. But I didn’t. I said a little prayer as he walked away into another restaurant.

My friends and I continued to visit with one another on the sidewalk. We noticed one of the valets from yet another restaurant run over to the car as the back lights still appeared to be on.

As he passed us we explained that the gentleman had trouble with his lights and we told him which restaurant he had gone into. He said he was very familiar with this man. He had been banned from the restaurant the valet works at because the man would drink too much and get drunk. And he also brought prostitutes to the restaurant with him. My heart was overwhelmed with compassion for this man. Even more so than before.

I don’t recall what I said, but I expressed my feelings about this man. The valet basically said that I shouldn’t feel sorry for the guy because he is doing it to himself.

Today as I pray for this man I’ve never met, this man whose name I don’t know, some scriptures about our Savior Jesus are filling my heart.

And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Mark 2:15-17, KJV)

And behold, a woman of the town who was an especially wicked sinner, when she learned that He was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment (perfume). And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears,and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. (Luke 7:37-39, KJV)

Jesus goes on to forgive this woman of all her sins and speaks of her great love. He who is forgiven much, loves much. She was forgiven much.

I think too of the words He spoke to the woman caught in adultery.

He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11, NKJV)

I wish I had shared John 3:16-17 with this man. But I didn’t and for that I repent. But today I pray that someone, even if it’s me Lord, will cross his path and tell him the Truth that will set him free.

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. (John 3:16-17, Amplified)

PS… As I typed this, I almost didn’t use the word gentleman at the beginning. I also thought about typing the words, the Truth that could set him free. I chose to call this man a gentleman and to say these words will set him free because just like God I call those things that be not as though they were. Agree with me for this man’s salvation and restoration.

Aware of His Love

…I am always aware of your unfailing love… (Psalm 26:3, NLT)

…I never lose sight of your love… (Psalm 26:3, Message)

When something really good happens I often say, “My Father loves me.” I recognize His working in my life and around me. When I see a beautiful sight, like a beautiful sunset, I say to Him, “You did that just for me.” I try not to take things for granted. And in everything I see His love.

When something really bad happens, what do I say? “My Father loves me.” Why? Do I think He allowed it or did it in some way. Absolutely not! No, I say, “My Father loves me. And it’s going to be okay.” In hard times I stay aware of His love and know that He will see to it that I am taken care of in the midst of it. And He will see to it that I come through victoriously.

When I make a mistake, I am aware of His love. In Lamentations 3 we are told that His mercies are new every morning. The Hebrew word translated mercies is the word checed. The same word is translated as ‘unfailing love’ in Psalm 26:3. He is merciful, because He is love. He is merciful because of His unfailing love.

So at those times that I want to be upset with myself, or could even feel like drawing back from Him, I run to Him. Instead of being aware of myself and my faults, I turn my attention to His love and thank Him that His mercies are new every morning. He knew I was going to mess up that day and even before I got out of bed, His mercies were already there waiting on me. Because He loves me.

When someone hurts me, rejects me, wrongs me in some way, what do I do? Once again, I turn my attention away from the pain and potential offense and I say, “My Father loves me. Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” It’s because of His love that He forgave us. It’s because of His love that we forgive others.

Begin to practice being aware of His love all day. No matter what the situation turn your attention to His love and watch the fear, offense, and confusion melt away. See how you are engulfed in love, sweet peace, joy and wisdom. He loves you every moment of every day, so begin to say, “My Father loves me.”

His Mercy Endures Forever

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:3-11, KJV)

What a lesson in humility. What a lesson in mercy. The Bible tells us that we are to follow the example of Christ, becoming more and more like Him everyday. Here we see what He is like when someone is caught in sin. And a sin that is considered quite serious even in our time, but more so in His time.

He judged the sin as wrong. He told her to sin no more. But He didn’t reject or condemn the person.

For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. (John 3:17, Amplified)

These days, it seems that so many are quick to judge, reject, and condemn others. We practice it everyday. Think about the politician, the newsman, the bad driver on the freeway, maybe even your spouse or your kids.

We may not agree with them. We may believe and rightly so that their words or actions are wrong, but we have not been sent to reject them or condemn them. We have been sent to love them. We have been sent as His ambassadors… ambassadors of His love and His mercy.

Here Jesus said to this woman’s accusers, you who is without sin throw the first stone. And not one was left behind. We had all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Not one of us was guiltless. But because of His great love and mercy He died for us while we were yet sinners. And it is only the mercy and grace of God that we are now guiltless and sin free before Him.

The next time you see someone fall to sin, search your heart for God’s leading. How would He have you to help them. He would rather your pray for them than to complain about them or reject them. He would rather you be part of the answer for that person rather than being part of the problem.

Carrie Prejean has been an excellent example of this. She spoke out against sin, but she has not spoken out against any person even when they have attacked her. She too was not without sin. She too needed a Savior. And she is now demonstrating His gracious Spirit, His love and His mercy. Pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)

Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. (Romans 12:14, KJV)

…through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him]. It was God… in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).

So we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become… the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21, Amplified)

Freely you have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:8, NKJV)

…For He is good, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever… (2 Chronicles 5:13, Amplified)

He Washed Their Feet

…Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father… And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him… He [Jesus] riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. (John 13:1-5, KJV)

Jesus saith to him [Peter], He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. (John 13:10-11, KJV)

We’ve all read this account. We’ve all seen this precious moment when the Son of God humbled Himself and washed His disciples’ feet. But just the other day, something from this account struck my heart.

Jesus knew His time was come. He knew Judas’ heart was turned against Him. He knew this man that He had loved, that He had poured His life into, was about to betray Him.

Have you ever been betrayed?

Here, Jesus knew this man was about to betray Him and what did Jesus do? He washed Judas’ feet.

If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. (John 13:14, KJV)

Jesus washed the feet of the man that was about to betray Him into the hands of the people that wanted to kill Him. His instruction to us is that we are to wash one another’s feet. His instruction to us is that we are to love one another. He said He left us an example. Not just an example of humility. Not just an example of servant-hood. Not just an example of love. But an example of being humble enough to love and serve those that do not deserve it.

Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved… (Ephesians 2:5, Amplified)

His favor and mercy which you did not deserve. Thank God He didn’t give us what we deserve. Now be like your Father and give others what they don’t deserve… love, forgiveness, mercy and grace.

…freely ye have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:8, KJV)

Good Morning

Each morning, for the past few weeks, I have heard this song in my heart in those moments when I am just waking up.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.

His mercies never come to an end.

They are new every morning,

New ever morning.

Great is Thy faithfulness oh Lord.

Great is Thy faithfulness.

The song is taken from a passage found in Lamentations 3:21-23.

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (KJV)

The passage is talking about hesed. The word ‘mercies’ is the Hebrew word ‘hesed’-God’s steadfast love. And it says His mercies, His compassions are new every morning. Before you ever got up today, God’s mercies were already ready to cover your failings for the day.

Sometimes when I hear that song in the morning, I thank God for the mercies He has for me for today and for the fact that the moment I step out of love and break that command, His mercy, His hesed, is right there waiting for me to turn to Him so He can make things right.

This song has greeted me each morning. And as I heard it being played in my heart again this morning I had this thought.

Good Morning. Welcome to today. I’ve been waiting for you.

As I meditated on these things, I thought of the parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15. He had gone off and wasted his inheritance and ended up starving among the pigs. He decided to return to his father’s home to be a servant so he could at least have a warm bed and food. And then it says in verse 20,

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. (KJV)

I like the Amplified version too.

So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently].

Now one of two things happened here. I can’t say for sure which, but the outcome is still the same. It’s possible his father saw him coming because he’d been watching and waiting for his son’s return. Or maybe he just happened to see him coming that day. Either way, mercy was waiting for him before he ever made it to his father’s side. Mercy actually ran to him. Mercy saw him coming and was ready for him.

We are growing from glory to glory into His image. And just as children aren’t born doing all the right things, but have to grow in maturity, we are growing into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18). We are going to make mistakes along the way. But with everyone of them, mercy will be right there waiting for us.

The prodigal son found mercy in his father’s arms. That’s where we’ll find it too. Run to Him, don’t shy away from Him.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16, KJV)

The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. (Psalms 145:8-9, KJV)

Selah.