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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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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The Way, the Truth, the Life

Posted on December 5, 2017 by Karah

PAUSE

Quickly list of all the thoughts or things cluttering your mind right now. Review and set aside your list. Ask God to help you clear your mind to focus on His Word.

“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” —John 14:6

Read John 14:1-11. Ask yourself:
• What did Jesus mean when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (v. 6)? It is only through Jesus that you can be reconciled to God, know the truth about how to live, and experience new life.

• According to the last part of verse 6, what is the way to be reconciled to God? How did Jesus make this possible? Explain.

• Many people believe that there is more than one way to get to heaven. Circle the words “except through me.” How do Jesus’ words go against that view?

• Reflect on verse 7. Jesus said if the disciples knew Him, they would know the Father. In verse 9, Jesus repeated Himself, once again declaring that He and God are one. How does knowing this affect your view of Jesus’ authority? His promises to you?

RESPOND

Journal a prayer, thanking God for providing a way for you to be reconciled with Him through Jesus. Do you struggle to believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life? Confess your struggle
to God. If you have questions, ask your camp counselor or a pastor at your church.

Ask God to help you to stand firm in your beliefs. Pray that He will give you wisdom as you talk to people who have different beliefs. Look at the definition of the word reconciled below. Examine your heart. Are you reconciled to the Father?

reconciled (v.) = to restore harmony to a relationship

BEHIND THE STORY

In John 14:1-6, Jesus told His disciples that He would soon depart from them to go to the Father. He said He would go away to prepare a place for them, and then return to take them with Him. In
verse five, Thomas asked how they would know the way to the place Jesus prepared for them. Today’s Scripture gives the answer.

THE POINT

Jesus is the only way to be saved. We must share this news with others


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The Good Shepherd

Posted on November 21, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Read Psalm 23 in your Bible. Allow these verses to prepare your heart for today’s devotion about Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

Reread John 10:1-5 from last week’s devotion.

The shepherd in this passage knew his sheep, called them, and lead them. Notice that the shepherd didn’t just call his sheep with a command to follow, but he called them by name—pointing to the intimacy of the relationship between shepherd and sheep. Biblical scholars suggest this metaphor demonstrates the relationship between Jesus and His people.

“I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep.”

—John 10:14-15

Now, read John 10:11-21 and ask yourself these questions:

Read verses 11-15 again. List some characteristics of a good shepherd in your journal.

 

Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd and believers are referred to as His sheep. Look at the characteristics you listed above. How would you describe Jesus’ relationship with us? Explain.

 

Read verse 11 again. Underline the words “I lay down my life for the sheep.” How does this show Jesus’ love for you? How does it point to Jesus’ death on the cross?

 

Respond

Jesus wants a personal relationship with you—He wants to know you. You are so important to Jesus that He died for you to have the chance to know Him. He invites you to an intimate relationship built on love and trust.

Relationships provide you with many good things, but usually require things of you as well. In your journal, draw a line down the middle of a clean page. At the top of the page, write the headings Given and Required. Under the appropriate heading, jot down some things God provides for us and some things He requires of us.

Jesus loves us enough to die for us. He takes care of us. Is there someone in your life today who needs to hear this? Pray that the Holy Spirit would help you discern how to share the truth with them.

For further study on Jesus’ sacrifice, read Hebrews 9:12; 1 John 2:2; and 1 John 3:16.

Behind the Story

The Jewish belief system rests on the Mosaic law, given by God through Moses in the Old Testament. The Jews already knew God as the “Shepherd of Israel” (Ezek. 34; Isa. 40:11). When Jesus claimed the title, He was identifying Himself as one with God in a way they would specifically understand.

The Point

Jesus laid down His life for us because He loves us. By trusting Him as Savior, we can know God personally.


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The Door

Posted on November 14, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Take a minute and talk to God about what’s on your mind-—the good, the bad, and everything in between. Ask God to prepare your heart to study His Word.

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.” —John 10:9

Read John 10:1-10.

In Jesus’ day, people would have understood that the gate to the sheepfold was a shepherd or watchman lying across the opening in the wall. As you will study more next week, Jesus was also known as the Good Shepherd. Put simply: Jesus is the leader and protector of His people.

Think through these questions and write the answer in your journal:

Circle the phrase “the door” throughout the passage. What does Jesus’ identity as the door tell you about the way to eternal life? About your salvation? Explain.

Jesus is the only way to enter eternal life. He provides salvation to all who place their trust in Him. When you trust Jesus as Savior, you become His. Your salvation and your place with Him in eternity is secure.

-In verse 9, Jesus promises three things to those who enter through Him. List them in the margin of your Bible.

-Read verse 10 again. What did Jesus promise here? Write His promise in your own words.

-What does Jesus’ promise in verse 10 reveal about His character?

Respond

Jesus didn’t only promise life after we die. He also promised abundant life while we’re here on the earth. How has He provided abundant life to you? Journal a prayer of thanks to God for all He has done for you.

Doors let things in and keep things out. For further study on the function of doors in Scripture, read Genesis 4:7; Psalm 141:3; Colossians 4:2-3; and Revelation 3:20.

Behind the Story

A sheepfold was a secure enclosure surrounded by a high wall or fence. The entrance was the only opening and would have been protected by a watchman or guard. The guard served as the protector of the sheep and the gate to the sheepfold. The only way to get to the sheep was to climb the wall or confront the guard. [1]

The Point

Jesus is the only way to be saved. Anyone who comes to Him in faith can know the security of His salvation.

 

 

[1] Kenneth Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary – John, ed. Max Anders, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2000), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “John 10 – The Good Shepherd”. Accessed July 23, 2015, LifeWay devotional outline.


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