Being audacious is not something that comes easy to many. In fact, being strong, Bold, taking great risks in life or stepping out in faith without knowing the full outcome takes courage. As believers in Christ we are able to come to the one who is able to give us that strength to do the what we may feel would be impossible.
2 Tim 1:7 For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self control.
In Deuteronomy 31:6 it say's to "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, trusting and relying on him that goes before you; and so take heart, be of good courage." One story of audacious faith was done by the women with the issue of blood found in the Gospel of Mark.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon possessed, those having seizures, and paralyzed: and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.
It was on the Northern Shore of the Sea of Galilee in Capernaum where Jesus was met yet again by more crowds of people. Jairus who was a leader of the synagogue came to Jesus and begged him to go with him to heal his daughter. The multitudes of people were pressing in on him as he was making his way to Jairus's home. If you can just imagine the enormous mob of people that were crowded around Jesus as he was on route to Jairus's house that would have caused him to be pressed in on all sides.
A women who was suffering from hemorrhages for 12 years came up and touched his garment.
Mark 5:26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed. " Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" "You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered," and yet you ask, 'who touched me?' " But yet you kept looking around to see who done it. Then the women, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
That took what I call audacious faith on her part. She would most definitely would have had a good reason to be trembling with fear. At that time, they followed the Levitical law. The Levites were the descendants of Levi, which was a son of Jacob. Moses was from the tribe of Levi and by calling it the Levitical Law they in essence were recognizing that God revealed the law through Moses, a Levite. According to the Levitical Law of that time, Lev 15 :19 "Whenever a women has her menstrual period, she will be ceremonially unclean for seven days. Anyone who touches her during that time will be unclean. until evening." In Lev 15:25, if a women had a flow of blood for many days that is unrelated to her menstrual period, or if the blood continues beyond the normal period, she is ceremonially unclean. As during her menstrual period. The women will be unclean as long as the discharge continues. Anyone or anything she touched would be considered unclean. She could have had severe consequences for touching him that day.
Can you imagine this was a women who went through such extreme hardships and suffering. This was a women who was considered to be ritually unclean, she couldn't be around others, and could not worship with anyone in temple. She desperately sought help from physicians and no one could help her. All her money was gone from trying so desperately to get some help and relief from physicians, but it just got worse. This women went through this immense suffering for 12 long years. Her total desperation and bold faith in the healing power of Jesus is what caused her take a supernatural leap of faith that day. It caused her to rise up and take a great risk by going through the mob of people just to touch the hem of his garment (prayer shall).
The garment Jesus wore was a prayer shall (tallit). Many Jews wore them as a reminder of God's Law. In Numbers 15:37 "The Lord said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'Throughout the generations to come, you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lust of your own hearts and eyes, Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt to be your God."
The tassels she grabbed were attached to the 4 corners (or kanaf) of his shall. In the scripture of Malachi 4:2 it reads, "But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in its wings. The Hebrew word for wing is "kanaf " which means wing, corner, or the hem of the garment (Tallit)." Mathew 14:35-36 says: "And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed." In Mark 6:56, "Whenever he entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might just touch the hem of his garment. And as many as touched him were made well."
There is so much controversy right now concerning the topic of does God still heal today. Well of course we serve a God who still heals today. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jehovah-Rapha (The God who heals). The Hebrew word Rophe or Ropha means "heal, "cure," "restore," or "make whole." But we can't think he is like a genie in a bottle, which way too often people will tend to do. We cannot come to God and want him to grant our wishes and then put it aside until we are in need again. God desires for his children to come to him with our concerns and requests. Our Heavenly father longs for us to have a relationship with him.
Mathew 11:28-30 : "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls for my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
We are to bring our requests to God, whatever they might be, in full confidence, knowing he hears our prayers.
Hebrews 4:16: "Let us then approach God's throne of Grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in or time of need.
Philippians 4:6: "Don't be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
Have that audacious faith to cry out to the one who bled and died for you, knowing full well we serve a God who loves us and hears those prayers, also knowing he is in full control and has all authority in Heaven and on Earth. His will always be done in our lives.
The best gift ever
Have you heard the words to the song Happy Birthday Jesus by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir?
Happy Birthday Jesus
I'm so glad it's Christmas
All the tinsel and lights
And the presents are nice
But the real gift is you
When my husband Nick and myself took our first Assembly of God church in Wading River, NY, we put on many Christmas plays and skits on during those first years we Pastored there. This song was sung by our eldest daughter Delilah during one of our Christmas specials when she was just a little girl. Christmas in the DeRosa household was by far the best time of the year for us. Not only was it enjoyed with our Church congregation we pastored, but it was for us also as a family. The excitement on our children's faces Christmas morning was priceless, and we have many of those memories caught on video. Though we ourselves as a family enjoyed, and still do enjoy, all our family gatherings, the food, fun, laughter and so many memories past and present, we made sure our children knew the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas. The story of Messiah's birth is the most beautiful story ever told.
The real reason why we celebrate Christmas is a true gift from our Heavenly Father.
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son , that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world , but to save the world through him.
For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on Davids throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Mary the mother of Jesus and Joseph were both from Nazareth, which was a city in the Northern region of Galilee. They were engaged to be married to each other. Mary was specifically of the tribe of Judah and a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Mary was also descended from King David, Boaz, and Nathan.
Luke 28-33 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings , you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.
Joseph's lineage traces back to the Tribe of Judah and King David.
Isaiah 11: 1 And there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jessie ( David's father) and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
Although Mary and Joseph are both descendants of the line of David, Mary through Nathan and Joseph through Solomon, there was a curse placed on Solomon's line that God had placed.
Jeremiah 22:30 Then God pronounces a curse : "Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, none will sit on the throne or rule anymore in Judah."
The right to rule on David's throne was passed onto Jesus through his mother Mary's line and conceiving him through the power of the Holy Spirit. When hearing of Mary's pregnancy Joseph did not want to marry her .
Mathew 1:19-25 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law , and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to to fulfill what the Lord has said through the prophet: "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means "God with us"). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Luke 2:1-7 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own hometown to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem to the town of David, because he belonged to the line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to Married to him and was expecting a child. It would have been about a 90 mile journey to Bethlehem (called house of Bread) which was a city in the central west bank of Palestine south of Jerusalem. Bethlehem is identified as the city of David where he was crowned King of Israel. while they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first born son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room available for them.
Luke 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
The Passover took place during the lambing season. Sheep are seasonal breeders and Lambs were mostly born in the spring. The lambs born and raised in Bethlehem were used for the temple sacrifices. After the lambs were born they would be wrapped in swaddling cloths (just trips of cloths from clothing). It is said that those lambs would then be laid in a manger for calming reasons and to protect them from being trampled. The job of these shepherds was to raise animals that were healthy and without blemish for sacrifice. During the Feast of Passover, the lambs that were to be sacrificed had to be one year old and without blemish. The feast was one of the main Jewish holidays and was celebrated to remember God's deliverance of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. When the Lamb's blood was spilled for all our sins, it was said that the priest then would turn to the people and proclaim that, "it is finished" or "It is accomplished."
Luke 2:9-19 An angel of he Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Lets go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told to them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
How beautiful it is that our Heavenly Father sent us his one and only Son as the True Lamb of God. He is the true and ultimate sacrifice for our sins. He came, bled, and died to pay the penalty for our sins for all those who believe in him. Christ was raised again on the third day and holds the keys to death, hell and the grave.
John 10:17-18 Jesus says, "The reason my father loves me is that I lay down my life-only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and take it up again. This command I received from my father."
When Jesus died, he died according to his own timing, when he gave up his spirit". Christ was raised again on the third day and hold the keys to death, hell, and the grave.
Revelation 1:18 Jesus says, "I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades." Possessing the keys of death" means that the risen Christ has control and authority over death.
May we focus solely on the the true meaning of Christmas and the precious gift our Heavenly Father has given us!!