AUTHOR ARCHIVES: Karah

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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Mysterious

Posted on November 27, 2018 by Karah

PAUSE

Consider who God is and what He does—pick out a few things you don’t understand. Thank Him for His mysteries that you have yet to discover.

Read John 9:1-2 in your Bible.

Like we often do, the disciples sought a reason for the man’s sickness. Do you ever ask God why something happened? Can you think of a specific example? Journal your experience.

“’Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ Jesus answered. ‘This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him.’” —John 9:3

Read John 9:1-12 in your Bible and think through these questions:

During this time, religious leaders taught that any misfortune such as this man’s blindness was brought about by sin.
• Look at verse 3. What did Jesus’ response to His disciples reveal about sin and sickness? Explain.

Jesus demonstrated His power while also demonstrating compassion toward the man. Today He has the power to work in our lives and the lives of those around us no matter what the situation.
• When has God used something negative in your life to demonstrate His power? Explain.
• Jesus completely healed the man to display God’s power in his life. Think of a time when God’s power was displayed in your life. Did you live differently after that experience? Why or why not?

RESPOND

• In John 9, Jesus chose to heal the man’s longtime blindness to bring glory to Himself. Sometimes, He chooses to glorify Himself by not healing. Think of a time when you asked God for healing and the person remained sick. What were your thoughts? Journal about that experience and ask God to help you see the situation in light of His plan and His glory.

• With what current situation is God asking you to trust Him? Journal a prayer to God. Be honest with Him about your difficulty trusting Him and ask Him to help you trust Him completely.

• For further study on what happens when God doesn’t heal, read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

BEHIND THE STORY

The Gospels record other instances of Jesus healing by mere touch, or even by speaking from a distance. However, in this situation, Jesus required the blind man wash his eyes in the pool of Siloam before receiving healing. Similarly, in 2 Kings 5, the prophet Elisha required Namaan to wash seven times in the Jordan River before he would be healed. Neither washing actually healed the men; however, both situations required obedience and faith.

THE POINT

We often have to live and trust God without knowing the “why” behind all of our circumstances. He knows what He’s doing even when we don’t.


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Desire to Heal

Posted on November 13, 2018 by Karah

PAUSE

Think of some people you know who need physical or spiritual healing. Pray for them before you begin your devotion today.

“For she said, ‘If I can just touch His robes, I’ll be made well! Instantly her flow of blood ceased, and she sensed in her body that she was cured of her affliction.” —Mark 5:28-29

Read Mark 5:24-34 in your Bible.

• Take a closer look at verses 25-27. List four things that happened to the woman as a result of her sickness.

Though the doctors couldn’t heal the woman, her sickness was not beyond the reach of God’s power or compassion. Jesus stopped in the middle of a pressing crowd to acknowledge this woman.

• What does this say about her value to Him? Your value to Him?

• In verse 34, Jesus said, “your faith has made you well.” How did this woman show faith by going to Jesus for healing? Explain.

RESPOND

The woman was an outcast because of her condition, yet Jesus didn’t rebuke her for touching Him; He rewarded her faith with healing.

• You may find yourself thinking that God has more important concerns to listen to or more significant healings to perform and that your concerns aren’t important. This woman—hurting, penniless, desperate, and unimportant—somehow recognized that Jesus could and would heal even her. Confess to Jesus any doubts you have about His care for you and others.

• In your journal, jot down a few areas in which you or people you know need healing. Pray for those requests daily. Leave a space to record dates any of those prayers are answered.

BEHIND THE STORY

During Jesus’ time, women were discriminated against and treated unfairly. In today’s passage, Jesus broke the social rules by touching this woman, speaking to her, and even calling her daughter—a term that signified how precious she was to Him. He didn’t refuse to heal people because of social status or their belonging to the religious “in crowd.”

THE POINT

Jesus has the authority and power to heal anyone who comes to Him.


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Motive & Heart

Posted on October 30, 2018 by Karah

PAUSE

Before you open your Bible, ask God to help you examine your motives and the intentions of your heart as you spend time with Him today. Consider the many ways Jesus has proven Himself to be the authoritative, powerful, Son of God. List some ways in your journal, then circle those that are most meaningful to you.

“Right away Jesus understood in His spirit that they were thinking like this within themselves and said to them, ‘Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?’” —Mark 2:8

Read Mark 2:1-12 in your Bible. Think through these questions:

• In verse 8, Jesus’ question revealed that He knew what the Pharisees were thinking in their hearts. Why is this important?

God is omniscient. When Jesus revealed the Pharisees’ inner state, He showed His power, authority, and oneness with God.

• In what other ways did Jesus show His power and authority in verses 9-10?

• Look at verse 12. How did the people react to Jesus revealing His authority through healing the man and forgiving His sin? Why did they react this way? Explain.

RESPOND

God wants a relationship with us, but it is important to remember who He is—He’s not just the Giver of unconditional love—He has power over all things.

• Jesus determined the Pharisees’ thoughts and knew their hearts before they said a word. He knows you the same way. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you examine your heart. Are there things you need to confess to God? Be honest with Him and ask Him to help you keep your heart pure.

• For further study, read Mark 9:14-27. Journal about how you identify with this father—you want to believe, but still struggle and sometimes doubt Jesus’ power to overcome all things.

BEHIND THE STORY

In Mark 2, Jesus forgave the paralytic’s sins. While we often think of sin as the wrongful actions a person has done, these actions are the symptoms of a greater problem—the break in our relationship with God. Whatever individual sins this man had committed, Jesus went beyond righting the man’s wrongs and actually renewed and reconciled the man’s broken relationship with God.

THE POINT

Jesus displays His power in His omniscience, forgiveness, and healing.

 

OMNISCIENT (adj.) = Knowing all things.


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Tell All

Posted on October 23, 2018 by Karah

PAUSE

Take a few minutes to clear your mind and prepare for what God has to show you in His Word. Write down any pressing concerns and put them aside.

Before you begin, review last week’s devotion. Today, we will focus on what occurred after the man’s healing.

“The man from whom the demons had departed kept begging Jesus to be with Him. But He sent him away and said, ‘Go back to your home, and tell all that God has done for you.’ And off he went, proclaiming throughout the town all that Jesus had done for him.” —Luke 8:38-39

Read Luke 8:38-39 and complete the following.

• Examine this Scripture carefully. In your journal, jot down Jesus’ actions and the reactions of the man.

Jesus                                                The Healed Man

 

• In other healing accounts, Jesus asked the people He healed not to tell about their experience, yet He commanded this man to do the opposite. Why is this significant?

The man begged to go with Jesus; He was desperate to stay with the One who freed Him. However, Jesus wanted the man to go and tell others what He did for him, and the man obeyed.

• Why did the man’ transformation require action? Explain.

• Highlight the word “proclaiming.” Look at the definition of proclaim below. How important was Jesus’ authority over evil in this man’s life? How important is Jesus’ authority over evil today?

RESPOND

• What Jesus did for you is worth sharing with others. In your journal, jot down the names of a few people you can tell about Him.

• Have you practiced telling people what God has done for you? Record your story and commit to telling one person from your list about it this week.

• For further study on redemptive stories, read about Paul’s conversion in Acts 9.

BEHIND THE STORY

Jesus was in the region of the Gerasenes when He healed the demon possessed man from the tombs. When the townspeople heard what Jesus had done, they were “gripped by great fear” (v. 37) and asked Him to leave. When Jesus asked the man to go back to his home and tell everyone what happened, He sent the man directly into the area Jesus was expelled from and where the man himself had been an outcast.

 

PROCLAIM (v.) = to publicly announce something of importance


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Freedom from Oppression

Posted on October 16, 2018 by Karah

PAUSE

Take a deep breath and spend a few minutes contemplating the fact that nothing in the universe can separate you from the love of God.

“When He got out on land, a demon-possessed man from the town met Him. For a long time he had worn no clothes and did not stay in a house but in the tombs … then people went out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man the demons had departed from, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Meanwhile, the eyewitnesses reported to them how the demon-possessed man was delivered.” —Luke 8:27,35-36

Read Luke 8:26-37 in your Bible. Think through the following questions:

• Circle instances of the words “beg,” “permit,” and “permission.” Why do you think the demons made requests of Jesus?

• What does the description of the demons’ power over the man—and the demons’ terrible fear of Jesus—tell you about Jesus’ authority?

When the people saw the healed man calmly seated at Jesus’ feet, they were afraid (v. 35). Before, He had worn chains and shackles, living among the tombs. Jesus’ power delivered the man from the demons and into new life. He has the power to free us from darkness and give us new life as well. (See Eph. 5:8; 2 Tim. 1:10.)

• What does it mean to have new life?

RESPOND

The demon-possessed man did not do anything deserving Jesus’ presence or His mercy; Jesus came to him to set him free. In the same way, He meets us where we are—we don’t have to be “cleaned up” before we can come to Him.

• How does your own spiritual transformation compare to that of the man in this story? What has Jesus freed you from? Journal your thoughts.

• How has Jesus changed your life? Think of ways you can tell your story to others. If you haven’t trusted Jesus as Savior, talk to one of your camp counselors or a pastor from your church.

• For further study, read What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey (Zondervan, 2002).

BEHIND THE STORY

The demons in the story call themselves “Legion.” The word legion comes from Roman military language, concerning armed forces comprised of varying units of soldiers and weaponry. On average, a Roman legion contained around 6,000 men. The legion was also the system by which Rome established its dominance before and during the time of Christ. The use of the name Legion
in this story not only spoke to the number of demons that possessed the man, but also their rule over him.

THE POINT

Like the demon-possessed man, we were set free from an entirely hopeless state to one filled with hope, and we should share this hope with others.


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(REST)ORATION

Posted on October 9, 2018 by Karah

PAUSE

Remember a time when God came through for you. Reflect on it and thank Him for His continued faithfulness.

“’Satan has bound this woman, a daughter of Abraham, for 18 years—shouldn’t she be untied from this bondage on the Sabbath day?’ When He had said these things, all His adversaries were humiliated, but the whole crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things He was doing.” —Luke 13:16-17

Read Luke 13:10-17 in your Bible. Ask yourself:

Jesus’ healing involved not only the physical healing of the woman’s disability, but also spiritual healing by casting out the evil spirit. Not all physical ailments were caused by demons. Bible scholars suggest this was a rare case in which both occurred simultaneously.

• Why did the leader of the synagogue complain about Jesus healing on the Sabbath? Why is that significant?

Jesus considered changing this woman’s life as more important than the religious leaders’ imposing rules. He respected the Sabbath, but didn’t refrain from doing God’s work on that day either. Despite the Pharisees’ anger at Jesus for healing a woman on the Sabbath, God was glorified through His actions.

• Look at verse 17. Jesus’ _________________ were humiliated, but the _________ rejoiced. Why?

RESPOND

When Jesus healed this woman, people rejoiced. The religious leaders used the law to bind people, but Jesus came to change people’s hearts by setting them free from sin. He did not nullify the law, but fulfilled it. God’s law still guides our behavior even though Jesus provides our righteousness.

• Examine your heart. What are some of your thoughts and actions that need to change? Ask Jesus to continue to change your heart and help you see your need for Him.

• For further study on God’s law, read Exodus 20:1-17. How does God’s law guide your behavior as a believer? Explain.

BEHIND THE STORY

The Sabbath is a holy day of rest in Jewish law. Its founding comes from Genesis 2:2-3, which stated that God rested on the seventh day after He created the heavens and the earth. God’s rest didn’t indicate exhaustion. Rather, He suspended His work in order to delight in it, modeling this practice for His people and establishing it in His law for them (Ex. 20:3).¹ By the time Jesus was born, the religious leaders had instituted many additional man-made rules about what could and could not be done that day.

THE POINT

God’s law helps us to see our need for a Savior, but Jesus changes our hearts and makes obedience possible. God’s law then guides our behavior.

 

¹Glen S. Martin, Holman Old Testament Commentary — Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, ed. Max Anders, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2002). WORDsearch CROSS e-book, p. 88, Under: “Exodus 19-20 — God’s Top Ten List.”


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All Things Are Possible

Posted on October 2, 2018 by Karah

PAUSE

Grab a pen, your Bible, and your journal. Find a quiet place and think of three things that you’re grateful for and thank God for those things.

Consider the word unbelief. What does this mean? When have you experienced unbelief and what did God do to help you believe? Journal about your experience.

“‘And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘If You can? Everything is possible to the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do believe! Help my unbelief.’” —Mark 9:22-24

Read Mark 9:14-29 in your Bible. Answer these questions:
• What did Jesus request of the boy’s father before He drove out the demon? Why is this important? Explain in your own words.

The father had the faith to come to Jesus and request help for his son, but he needed both faith and belief in Jesus for true spiritual healing to take place. Although, the disciples were unable to cast out this demon, Jesus had given them the power to do so, and they had experienced success before this encounter.

• List the two reasons Jesus gave for the disciples’ inability to drive out the demon.

RESPOND

• Have you ever fasted? What was it like? How did the experience draw you closer to God? Journal about your experience.

• Think of two people who have strong faith. List the two names in your journal and record characteristics that demonstrate each person’s faith.

• For further study on faith and prayer, read Mark 11:24; John 15:7; Romans 10:9; and Ephesians 2:8.

BEHIND THE STORY

The ESV Study Bible noted that “failure is an occasion for encouragement to more prayer … implying that more time and effort in prayer (and therefore in closer fellowship with God) leads to growth in faith.”¹ The disciples had been casting out demons already, but this particular spirit was beyond them. Spiritual growth continues throughout life, no matter your level of maturity in
the faith. Faith should be nurtured with prayer, because God desires to continue to reveal more of Himself to you.

THE POINT

Prayer and faith are essential to God’s will, and through them He can show us His power.

 

¹The English Standard Version Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008), p. 1912.


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Bold Faith

Posted on September 25, 2018 by Karah

PAUSE

Listen to “Breathing” by Lifehouse (No Name Face, 2000). Meditate on the meaning and your heart toward God as you read through this devotion.

What does it mean to have bold faith? Journal your thoughts.

“Then He told her, ‘Because of this reply, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.’ When she went back to her home, she found her child lying on the bed, and the demon was gone”. —Mark 7:29-30

Read Mark 7:24-30 in your Bible. Ask yourself:

• What is your first impression of this story? Explain.

At first glance, it may seem that Jesus’ response to this woman is curt and uncaring. However, Jesus acknowledged that the priority of His mission was to bring salvation to the Jews. He did not completely exclude the Gentiles, but said that the Word of God must go to the Jews first, and then to the Gentiles.

• Underline the word “kept” in verse 26. What kind of faith did she show? Explain.

• Why did the woman’s reply cause Jesus to grant her request for His healing? Explain.

RESPOND

During Jesus’ time, men and women did not interact like this in public. This encounter crossed cultural and religious boundaries. The woman took a risk in faith, and Jesus responded to her belief and courage.

• What are some ways that you can be courageous in your faith? Jot down a few in your journal.

• What’s one thing you can do tomorrow to demonstrate your compassion for someone who is different from you?

• Think of a time when you persistently asked God for something and your faith was rewarded. Journal about that experience.

BEHIND THE STORY

The Israelites were God’s chosen people. Jesus’ first obligation was to the Jews so the whole world would be blessed through them, as God had promised Abraham (Gen. 22:18). However, that didn’t mean God wouldn’t pursue the Gentiles. After Jesus ascended to heaven, God gave Peter a vision, telling him to take the message of salvation to the Gentiles (Acts 10:9-16). Paul’s ministry was also famous for being focused on the Gentiles (Rom. 1:16-17).

THE POINT

God rewards bold faith, and believers should always be encouraged to come to Him with their requests.


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