I Press In

Brandy Monnerjahn

But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” Luke 8:46

 

We all want to be touched by God but many stand in service week after week wondering, “When, when is God going to come and touch me?” I can remember being one of those people. I stood watching others get touch and wondered, “When would it be my turn?” “When would God come and touch me?” One day as I sat in service, the guest speaker began to teach on the woman with the issue of blood. He talked about the crowd surrounding Jesus and how they were all pressing in to receive something from Him. Then he began to speak of her desperation. She was painfully conscious of her need for a touch. A feeling of desperation began to pound in my chest. I knew that there was a desire in my heart to be touched but God always seemed to be passing me by. Then the Lord began to speak, “She pressed in.” The woman with the issue of blood acknowledged her need and acted. I had sat in service after service waiting for a touch but had I never taken action? Had I ever pressed through and touched Him instead of waiting for Him to touch me. Matthew Henry states, “A poor woman applied herself to Christ, and received mercy from him by the way. If we do but touch, as it were, the hem of Christ’s garment by living faith, our worst evils will be healed;” I needed to apply myself. I needed to push through my crowded flesh and reach out for Him. I began to take steps to touch Him. I spent my morning bible time reading about people who were desperate for a touch; Zacchaeus climbed a tree, Nicodemus came to Jesus in the night, a woman who was not to be in a public place pushed through a crowd. I stood in every prayer line not wondering when He would touch me but excited about when I would get the opportunity to touch Him. My walk became less about why He hadn’t touched me and more about what I was willing to do to touch Him. That moment in my life has made all the difference. When I feel far away from Him, I know He hasn’t moved so I begin to shake myself until I reach the hem of His garment. I deliberately touch Him and His power consumes every inch of my doubt.

STRANGE PROVISION

Lk. 8:1-3 – Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.

One of the beautiful things about the ministry of Jesus is the diversity of His followers. Just as we see in today’s verse, even today, everyone from the billionaire to the homeless, from the sophisticated to the streetwalker can be found in the crowd following Jesus. Two of the followers of Jesus mentioned in this passage demand our attention. Mary Magdalene, the woman with the shady past whom had seven demons cast out of her is mentioned in the same breath as the apostles. Then there is Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward. Think about that, King Herod’s treasurer’s wife, the man who controlled the money in Israel, his wife was a follower of Jesus. Not only that, Luke said she ministered to the Lord out of her substance. That is quite amazing. There were at least twelve families being supported by the ministry of Jesus, He even had a treasurer Himself. The Lord will always provide for His work, sometimes it is in the most surprising ways. Here is what Barclay says about today’s verse.

“There was Mary Magdalene, that is Mary from the town of Magdala, out of whom he had cast seven devils. Clearly she had a past that was a dark and terrible thing. There was Joanna. She was the wife of Chuza, Herod’s epitropos. A king had many perquisites and much private property; his epitropos was the official who looked after the king’s financial interests. In the Roman Empire, even in provinces which were governed by proconsuls appointed by the senate, the Emperor still had his epitropos to safeguard his interests. There could be no more trusted and important official. It is an amazing thing to find Mary Magdalene, with the dark past, and Joanna, the lady of the court, in the one company.”

All of us have a role to play in God’s kingdom. Sometimes it might be behind the scenes but that doesn’t have anything to do with the value of the gift. Every member is extremely valuable, each playing a critical role in advancing God’s kingdom. Obviously Mary Magdalene, a lady of the night; and Joanna, the woman from the king’s palace, valued the kingdom of God and poured out their love on Jesus.

THE TOUCH THAT HEALS

Lk.8:43,44 – A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.

Lots of people were in the meetings that day, it even says in one account that Jesus was being thronged by the crowds. Sounds like pushing and shoving and touching but who was really touching Jesus? Suddenly Jesus was stopped in His tracks, “Who touched Me”, He exclaimed. Someone had touched Him with the touch of faith and was immediately healed. What does this story say to us today? Is it possible that many who attend church never really “touch Christ”? They sing the songs, pray their prayers, listen to the preaching, and take communion but really never touch Jesus. There was something different about the lady with the hemorrhage that day. It wasn’t that she was sick that made her different, she was ready to receive her touch. Here is how J.C. Ryle describes this scene.

“We are told in these verses that “many people followed” our Lord, “and thronged him.” But we are only told of one person who “came in the press behind,” and touched Him with faith and was healed. Many followed Jesus from curiosity, and derived no benefit from Him. One, and only one, followed under a deep sense of her need, and of our Savior’s power to relieve her, and that one received a mighty blessing. We see the same thing going on continually in the Church of Christ at the present day. Multitudes go to our places of worship, and fill our pews. Hundreds come up to the Lord’s table, and receive the bread and wine. But of all these worshipers and communicants, how few really obtain anything from Christ! Fashion, custom, ritual, habit, the love of excitement, or an itching ear, are the true motives of the vast majority. There are but few here and there who touch Christ by faith, and go home ‘in peace’.”

What brought you to church this Sunday? Did you come out of routine or duty or did you come expecting a touch from the Lord? How will your touch come? It could be from reading a scripture, His presence in a song, a word spoken from the minister, or even through the laying on of hands in the prayer line. There are many ways you can touch the hem of His garment, one touch can change your world.

I AM MOB

“I AM MOB”

MERRY TUESDAY BY PARRIS

“And Jesus asked him, What is your name?” He replied, My name is Legion, for we are many.” Luke 8:30

What a story we read in the gospels about the man from Gadera! This man passed his days “howling in the tombs” and cutting himself and no one could bind him. He had a mob in his brain that wouldn’t stop. Sound familiar? I am sure many of us have met or have known MOB personally. Christ is forever on a mission seeking people that have been visited with MOB. I too have encountered the “voices in minds” over the years in women that darken our door here at Marysong or our church. Their stories make me go to the same carpenter from Nazareth, so I don’t end up with my own MOB in my head. He isn’t surprised, put off, or ill prepared to take on the army yelling up in our heads. HE IS ABLE.

Matthew Henry said, “We are not a match for our spiritual enemies, in our own strength; but in the Lord, and in the power of his might, we shall be able to stand against them, though there are legions of them. When the vilest transgressor is delivered by the power of Jesus from the bondage of Satan, he will gladly sit at the feet of his Deliverer, and hear his word, who delivers the wretched slaves of Satan, and numbers them among his saints and servants. The man joyfully proclaimed what great things Jesus had done for him.”

We must remind ourselves when we are told we can never be free even Mary Magdalene was possessed (Luke 8:2) with “seven other spirits”. He comes to conquer and liquidate out of us all the garbage of the past.

What makes the gospel so amazing? He is able to deliver the MOB out of us- he says go and it is gone. It takes effort on our part to stay clean and walk it out but my friend its possible and more than possible. When Christ walks into the room he makes the crooked straight. These folks are not meant to be thrown away, put away or drugged into zombies.

I don’t know the man from Gadera story nor what happened to Mary that got 7 devils, but I can surely guess. It’s hard to live on planet earth these days and not be affected by the blast of sin. Jonathan Edwards said that his wife Sarah had “been subject to unsteadiness, and many ups and downs, in the frame of mind, being under great disadvantages, through a vaporous habit of body, and often subject to melancholy, and at times almost over-borne with it.” But in a human’s greatest weakness, God proves sufficient and visited her because she said; she was able to profess that “The sweet language of my soul continually was ‘Amen, Lord Jesus! Amen Lord Jesus!'”

WOMEN IN MINISTRY

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Luke 8:1-3 – Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.

One of the blessings I have received over the years is being honored by ministering in many locations in the world. I have done meetings in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Central America, and Australia and all are beautiful and extremely diverse. There is one common denominator in all of the locations, there is always a much larger number of women in the services than me. I have thought a lot about it and concluded that women are naturally receivers and men are doers, most women recognize their need for the Lord much sooner than men. Reading between the lines it seems that was true in the ministry of Jesus as well, He was followed and supported by large numbers of women. In today’s verse Luke points out that women played a large role in the support of Jesus ministry. They used their substance, their finances and resources, for the work of the ministry. Here are some thoughts from the

UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE COMMENTARY about the role of women in the ministry of Jesus.
“Luke probably had three reasons for mentioning these women: (1) to show that the women who witnessed the crucifixion (Luke 23:49) and the empty tomb (24:10, 22, 24) had been with Jesus from the time of his Galilean ministry (which in effect meets the qualifications for apostleship in Acts 1:21-22); (2) to show that women may (and [Luke, p. 123] will) have influential roles in the church (see Acts 1:14; 8:12; 16:13-15; 17:4, 12; 18:24-26); and (3) to show that financial liberality is a mark of discipleship and is essential for the continuation of the ministry.”
We have seen a huge influence of ladies in our church over the years. Women have often been our largest financial supporters, cell leaders, ministers, teachers, soul winners, business and administrative leaders; actually women have lead every area of our church. Thank the Lord for the many women of God in the church. It seems that Jesus led the way in freeing women to be used for the work of the ministry.

THE SEARCH FOR SIGNIFICANCE  

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MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS

WHO TOUCHED ME?
“And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?”

Luke 8:45 KJV
What a precious story of one individual lost in the sea of humanity that had an encounter with Jesus. You read of it everyday in the news; the child left in a dumpster, the elderly abandoned in some overcrowded nursing home, the sick wasting away after spending all that they had on empty promises. The suffering are not forgotten in the world in which Christ walks. The storyline may not look like it will end well but even eternity brings sweet bliss to those who meet His touch. Christ looks for those who stretch out their hands when all else fails. His hands grasp ours when we have no life left in us. The child is found, the sick one is visited and the miserable are comforted. He gives a medicine no physician can conjure up, for He is the balm of Giliad. Somewhere, somehow Christ comes and the atmosphere changes. l believe He walks hospital hallways, empty airports, abandoned buildings, refugee camps bringing the antidote needed. He is the remedy for all of mankind pains and the answer to all their questions. Christ’s followers abound through the earth looking for the hurting and they pour out the oil and the wine. Christ always looks to those who touch Him with the touch of pain. His hands are stretched out still, for He ever lives to make intercession on our behalf. He loves to be loved and He knows each and everyone’s make up from what makes us tick to our favorite foods! He created us to need His touch! You are not just some number or a mistake or some nobody drifting through this life on this planet. God saw you as His since the beginning of time and He knows your need.

Who touched me? He is waiting for your need to get so big so that you press through the crowd and finally meet the lover of your soul. When you do touch Him that’s when you start your story!

“Loving Our Swine More Than Christ!”

MERRY TUESDAY-BY PARRIS

“Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.” Luke 8:3
What! Are we reading this right? A whole multitude surrounded Jesus and asked him to DEPART from their country, just because he took away their swine? Jesus had just finished delivering one of the most graphically possessed people in the gospels! But instead of seeing a Savior they saw that Jesus took away their commerce. It must have been quite an impact to see 2000 swine floating! Not a pleasant sight indeed. I remember the Lord spoke to me vividly to “go to the bottom of the ocean” and let it all go. What swine are you holding onto?

Pulpit commentary has an interesting note to add-“They felt they could not keep both the Savior and their swine, and of the two they preferred their swine! And He returned back again. The chance, as far as the Gadarene district was concerned, was gone for ever. Jesus probably returned thither no more. Within forty years this district was the scene of one of the terrible calamities of the great Roman war.”

Redemption is to me so amazing. We love the guy who died for others, we love the long hair bearded one that seemed to float around speaking love stories hanging with the cool cats and condemning the religious. But don’t touch my secret stash and tell me what to do and when to do it. We all paint this mythical Jesus in our own way.

The Christ that I have come to know demands all but gives us the strength to hand it over. Somehow he even convinces us it’s a joy and not a sacrifice. I remember the bag of weed that seemed so important back in the day! Really?????

He will definitely come touch your stuff but how freeing it is to be free of it. I am quite certain when Christ walks into my room there will be more to hand over. Let the work of redemption continue in my life! Like the Gaderene demonic that once walked the tombs, I pray I will follow him all the days of my life.

THE HEALING POWER OF THE ANOINTING

THE HEALING POWER OF THE ANOINTING

“But as He went, the multitudes thronged Him. Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any,came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.
And Jesus said, “Who touched Me?”
When all denied it, Peter and those with him* said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ “*
But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.”
Luke 8:42-47

“Who touched me? ” what a strange thing for Jesus to say. The crowds were pushing and shoving, hundreds of people touched Him that day, but there was something different about this touch. This touch made real contact. Jesus felt the anointing go out of Him. He knew someone had received their miracle.
Have you ever touched God? You say you are not sure? Impossible! When you touch Him, I mean really touch Him, you will know for sure. Things change at the touch of God. This touch is actually making contact with the Holy Spirit. This is what our need is, to have a real, intimate relationship with the Living God. This woman needed a physical healing for sure, but she also needed much more than a healing. Her soul was sick, she was tormented by her problems. Just like today, medical issues spill over into the other parts of our lives. This woman’s sickness and the resulting bills were effecting everything; she needed a  miracle, nothing less would do for her.
The lady with the issue of blood experienced life change that day. Not only was her body healed, but her soul was restored. She could never forget the life she experienced every time she remembered His words, “Daughter, your faith has made you well, go in peace.”
How is it with your soul? Have you made peace with God? Why not make your peace with God today. How can you start? Get hungry for the touch of God. Soak yourself in His Word and an atmosphere of worship. Begin to reach out to Him in faith. Before long , you may experience the life changing power of His Presence. You may hear His words, “Daughter(son), your faith has made you whole. Go in peace”.