Faith That Gives Life

Posted on January 15, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

List all the ways God has shown His power in your life, then praise Him for being a mighty and powerful God.

Read Matthew 9:18-19 in your Bible. Many Jewish leaders didn’t follow Jesus because His teachings were radically different. Today’s reading focuses on one Jewish leader, Jairus, who came to Jesus for help when his daughter was sick.
• Read Jairus’ statement at the end of verse 18. What does this tell you about his faith?

“One of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus he fell at His feet and kept begging Him, ‘My little daughter is at death’s door. Come and lay Your hands on her so she can get well and live.’”—Mark 5:22-23

Read Mark 5:22-24 in your Bible. Consider the following:
• As you read, underline any words that indicate Jairus’ feelings about his
daughter’s illness. What does his persistence reveal about the urgency of
his situation?
• Review both accounts of Jairus’ encounter with Jesus. List some things that revealed his faith in Jesus.
• Why is it important to believe that Jesus can overcome anything? Explain.

RESPOND

• Terminal illness and death are often difficult to address, so prayerfully think about a time in your life when you lost a loved one or knew someone with a terminal illness. How did you respond? Journal your about your experience.
• Jairus showed faith by going to Jesus with his dying daughter, believing His touch alone would heal. On a scale of 1-10, how strong is your faith during times of crisis?
• Do you believe that Jesus is strong enough today to work miracles like He did with Jairus’ daughter? Confess any doubts to God and ask Him to help you trust Him with the tough situations in your life.

BEHIND THE STORY

In each account of this healing, Jairus asked Jesus to lay His hands on his daughter. Jairus, as a synagogue leader, would have been familiar with the common practice of laying hands on someone to bestow blessing or for healing.

THE POINT

We don’t have to fear anything. Belief in Jesus overcomes all situations.


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Willing & Able

Posted on January 8, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Listen to “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe (Almost There, 2001) and consider how you would react if you were suddenly face-to-face with Jesus.

“He saw Jesus, fell facedown, and begged Him: ‘Lord, if You are
willing, You can make me clean.’”—Luke 5:12b

Read Luke 5:12-16 in your Bible and think through these questions:

• In today’s passage, Jesus and the man with the skin disease both took a risk. What risk did each one take? Explain.
• Looking at verse 12, what three things did the man do?
• Consider the man’s request to Jesus. Highlight or circle the word “willing.” Why is this word important? Explain.
• In this passage, the man with the skin disease showed humility. The opposite of humility is pride. In your journal, record some characteristics of a humble person and one who is prideful.

RESPOND

We all have a reason to follow Jesus, but we must be willing to let Him cleanse us and prepare our hearts for His kingdom.
• On a sticky note, complete the following statement: Lord, if You are willing, You can…
• Stick the note on your mirror or the back of your door, where you’ll see it often. Even if Jesus doesn’t take away that circumstance, heal that sickness, or change that situation, know that it isn’t because He wasn’t able.
• For further study, read Isaiah 55:8-11. Meditate on these verses, considering the faith it takes to believe that God’s ways are better, even though we can’t always comprehend them.

BEHIND THE STORY

The man in today’s passage was likely an outcast because of His skin disease, yet He didn’t hesitate to go to Jesus and ask for healing. The man fell on his face before Jesus, showing humility and respect. The man also called Him “Lord,” signifying a person in higher authority. In respect and honor, Jewish people also used the title Lord to refer to God to avoid calling Him by His personal name, Yahweh.

THE POINT

God is able to do anything. We can trust Him, even if we don’t understand His timing.


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When Words Are Enough

Posted on January 2, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

What does it take for you to be convinced something is true? Consider whether you trust God enough to take Him at His Word.

Read John 4:46,54. This was not Jesus first miracle in Galilee. During both miracles, the people who came to Jesus for help were required to trust Him at His word that He would provide.

“’Go,’ Jesus told him, ‘your son will live.’ The man believed what Jesus said to him and departed.” —John 4:50

Ask yourself:

• Jesus answered the royal official’s plea by accusing the crowd of only looking for signs and wonders. In this case, He didn’t give them a miracle to witness. What did He do instead? Why is that important?

Examine Jesus’ promise to the official in verse 50. The word “go” here is a command. Jesus didn’t just give the official permission to leave; He told him to go and promised healing for the man’s son.

• What kind of faith did Jesus require from the official? Explain.

• Imagine what you would do if you were the official: would you leave behind your one chance at healing with a promise? Why or why not?

RESPOND

Today, people love to rely on their own wisdom for answers to tough questions, but as believers we should rely on the truth of God’s Word. It can be difficult to obey His commands without assurance that the outcome will be what we want, but we have to trust in God and in the truth of His Word, knowing that His way is best.

• Think of a time when you had to choose to obey God based only on a promise in His Word. At the time, maybe it made more sense to go against God’s Word, maybe you were afraid of how others would react, or maybe you didn’t trust God to take care of your situation. What was the most difficult thing about that situation? Do you still struggle to trust in His Word no matter what? Journal your thoughts.

• God’s Word is full of trustworthy promises. Find a verse or passage that directly speaks to a situation in your life, like Psalm 27:13-14; Isaiah 40:31; John 16:33; or 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Memorize the verse and meditate on it every time you are tempted to doubt God’s faithfulness.

BEHIND THE STORY

This healing is considered a part of the “Cana cycle,” which took place in John 2:1–4:54. This cycle consists of three signs: turning the water into wine at the wedding, the temple clearing, and Jesus’ healing the official’s son. All three occurrences were considered proofs of Jesus as the Messiah.¹

THE POINT

Christ-followers must trust His Word is true and live in obedience to it.

 

¹Holman Christian Standard Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2010). Accessed via mystudybible.com.


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The Touch of a Hand

Posted on December 18, 2018 by Karah

PAUSE

Reflect on ways God has been with you during difficult times. Thank Him for His faithful presence.

“So He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she began to serve them.” —Mark 1:31

Read Mark 1:29-31 in your Bible and think through these questions:

After leaving the synagogue, Jesus and His disciples went to Capernaum where Jesus was “at once” (v. 30) made aware that Peter’s mother-in-law had a fever. Being omniscient, Jesus likely already knew about her sickness but allowed His disciples to come to Him with their concern.

• What were the three actions Jesus took after the disciples brought Him their news (v. 31)?

Jesus could have spoken healing over Peter’s mother-in-law from where He was, but He chose to go to her, touch her, and help her get up.

• How does this healing show Jesus’ compassion and love for His people? Explain.

• What does this tell you about His character? His relationship with you?

RESPOND

Although Jesus knows what we need— He still wants us to come to Him—He wants relationship.

• We all have needs and pain. What are some things you’re struggling with right now? Talk honestly with God and ask Him to help you overcome your struggle.

• Think about a specific situation where you needed God’s help or healing and His response strengthened your relationship with Him. What happened? How did you respond? Journal your response.

• In your journal, list a few people you know who are going through a tough time or are enduring sickness. Pray over those people every time you see their names.

BEHIND THE STORY

In Mark 1:21-28, Jesus spent His day teaching in the synagogue. During that time, a man with an unclean spirit entered the synagogue; Jesus drove out the spirit with a verbal rebuke. The people recognized His authority when He commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. However, in today’s passage, Jesus used His touch to heal Peter’s mother-in-law.

THE POINT

Jesus didn’t just come to heal our pain—He walks through it with us. He wants us to come to Him with our needs.


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The Only Hope

Posted on December 11, 2018 by Karah

PAUSE

Quickly list any places you’ve tried to find hope and healing. Ask God to help you focus on Jesus as your only hope and Healer.

“’Get up,’ Jesus told him, ‘pick up your mat and walk!’ Instantly the man got well, picked up his mat, and started to walk”. —John 5:8-9a

Read John 5:1-15 in your Bible. Answer these questions:

• People with all kinds of ailments came to Bethesda to be healed. This particular man had been sick for 38 years and Jesus knew the man had been there for a long time. How did this show His compassion?

• Reread verse 6. Jesus didn’t ask the many why he wasn’t well; He asked if the man wanted to get well. How does the man’s response indicate His misunderstanding of Jesus’ question? Explain.

• What was Jesus’ response to the man’s complaint (v. 7)? Write it in your own words.

• How do Jesus’ words in verse 14 give hope? Explain.

RESPOND

• The sick man trusted in a myth about the pool of Bethesda as the only possible means for healing. What “good” things are you placing your hope in, instead of Christ? Jot down a few ideas in the margin.

• What good things are you trying to do to earn God’s favor? If you haven’t accepted His unconditional forgiveness, talk to your parents, a camp counselor, or someone from your church about how to know God personally.

• What can you change this week to demonstrate a full trust in Jesus as your only source of hope and healing? List three ideas in your journal.

BEHIND THE STORY

The focus of Jesus’ ministry wasn’t just curing illnesses and difficulties, although He did heal people physically. In this situation, He sought out the man who had been sick for 38 years and had no one to help him into the pool. Instead of helping the man into the pool, Jesus ignored the pool and gave the man healing through Himself, the only true Source of hope and healing.

THE POINT

Jesus is the only source of hope and healing.


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