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Interruptions

“Who touched Me?” Jesus asked. Luke 8:45

See short video here, or read on…

I hate making phone calls. I’m getting better with this, but I’d much rather email someone than call them, as a rule. Why? I hate interrupting people.

Maybe that’s because I hate being interrupted.

Jesus, of course, was interrupted constantly. If you read through the gospels, you’ll find that much—maybe most—of His ministry was responding to interruptions.

In this passage, Jesus is on a mission: to heal a dying twelve-year-old girl. I can imagine how urgent her father’s pleas were for Jesus to waste no time and come to his home right away.

Along the way, Jesus was interrupted—not once, but constantly. The crowd was jostling Him, throwing questions at Him, making requests, pressing in from every direction. Jesus ignored all those interruptions, save one.

“Who touched Me?” He asked.

This was the one interruption that Jesus sensed was different. This interruption merited a stop—even a stop on the way to heal a dying girl.

Why?

It’s a very human story. A woman’s personal physical problem was consuming her life. All she had was gone and her problem was worse instead of better. She knows that God will heal her if only she can touch the edge of the Master’s robe.

I can so relate to this woman. She didn’t want to interrupt the important Healer. She just wanted to sneak in, quietly get her miracle, and steal away. But Jesus said, “Why touched Me?”

In that moment, Jesus validates all of us who are afraid to interrupt. We are important too. He calls us out and He wants to hear our story. He wants to look at us. He wants to listen to us. He wants to speak to us. He wants to send us away with His blessing.

Dwight

PS. This coming week in Inner Wealth we’ll be discussing paradigm shifts—what they are and how God uses them to transform our lives.

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Into the light

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed Him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, and she had spent all she had on doctors, but no one could heal her. She came up behind Him and touched the edge of His cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
“Who touched Me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against You.”
But Jesus said, “Someone touched Me; I know that power has gone out from Me.”
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at His feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed. Then He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
Luke 8:42-48

See short video here, or read on…

This is so important. Consider this woman. Ponder what her life was like and you have a picture of nearly everyone who sits beside you in church, and, most likely, of yourself.

Nearly all of us have problems that we cannot talk about. Problems that keep us in the shadows. As we scramble from “solution” to “solution,” our hope fades, and our desperation intensifies.

If only Jesus would quietly, unobtrusively, secretly heal us, we pray. But a secret healing is not to be. Jesus brings it out into the light.

“Who touched Me?” He asks.

We want to deny it, but Jesus keeps looking at us until we step out into the light.

“Yes,” we acknowledge. “Yes, I had problems that I could not solve on my own. Yes, I appeared all together on the outside, but deep inside I was hurting. You have healed me.”

The rest of us take note. So, there is someone else, like myself. So, Jesus does care about my secret need. Maybe Jesus will heal even me.

Dwight

PS. For those of you enrolled in Inner Wealth, beginning 4/20/2019, we will be discussing paradigm shifts—how God uses them to transform us.

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The suffering of God

“Jesus wept.” John 11:35

We will never understand our own suffering until we begin to understand the suffering of God.

See short video here, or read on…

God is not aloof. God is not uncaring. When we hurt, He hurts. Even though Jesus knew full well He would soon raise Lazarus from the dead, He paused and entered into our grief.

Jesus feels our pain.

Dwight

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What does peace mean to you?

What does peace mean to you?

As I say in this video, for me, it means I can actually relax.

For a long time, that wasn’t possible for me. Years ago, I couldn’t sit at a kitchen table without shaking. Crazy, I know, but that was my experience. Peace means I can relax. I’m no longer tense when I talk to people. I don’t feel the need to drive fast, cut off other drivers, get out in front. It means I can enjoy life, enjoy my family, and the things that once made me blow up or sit up and stew until 3 am no longer bother me. They aren’t issues any more.

All of this is a gift, a gift from God. Because of His work in my life, peace is spreading through my soul. Sure, I’m a work in progress, but I’ve tasted what Jesus offers, and I like it.

What about you? What does peace mean to you?

Dwight

PS. How do we break free of the “try harder” treadmill into the freedom that Jesus promised when He said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free?” What does that look like in the real world, and how do we get it? That’s our topic this week in Inner Wealth.

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Gut level truth

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this?” Luke 8:25

As I share in this video, this is a major paradigm shift: You need truth in your gut as well as your head.

For many years I had a cerebral faith. I knew about God. I knew the Bible. In fact, I could probably run circles around most people when it came to knowing the Bible. But all that knowledge wasn’t helping me in some critical ways.

I knew I shouldn’t be bitter. I tried very hard not to be bitter. But, deep inside, I was still bitter. I knew I shouldn’t lust. I tried not to lust. But, in my heart, lust was a continual trap. I knew I shouldn’t fear or worry. But inside, I couldn’t stop shaking, even though I hid it from everyone else.

I know I keep coming back to this story, but it’s a good one, so I’ll do it again. The disciples were learning quite a bit about this Messiah, this Jesus. They had theology. They had scripture. They had knowledge. Then the Lord took them across the Sea of Galilee.

In the storm, when they believed they were about to drown, then the poverty of their “gut-level” knowledge was exposed. They didn’t know who Jesus really was, until He taught them—not in a class, but with a gut-level experience.

Don’t be surprised if God takes you on a roller coaster ride through some gut wrenching experiences. He has a plan. He has a purpose. He’s getting truth in all the right places.

Dwight

PS. How do we break free of the “try harder” treadmill into the freedom that Jesus promised when He said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free?” What does that look like in the real world, and how do we get it? That’s our topic this week in Inner Wealth.

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Jesus puts the accent on faith

Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50

Why did Jesus say this? Why didn’t He say, “My love has saved you,” or “My grace has saved you,” or “My atoning sacrificial death on the cross will save you”?

Clearly, without these things, she wouldn’t be saved. But Jesus calls attention not to these things, but rather to her faith.

See short video here, and/or consider these thoughts:

This may have been the first sincere compliment she had ever received. In the place of flattery that just wanted something out of her, here was Someone who found something good.

Or perhaps Jesus was calling attention to her reckless abandon that pursued God at the risk of rejection and embarrassment. She forgot herself and stopped caring if she looked like a fool in front of everyone else. What a refreshing contrast to the religionists who lived in the comfort of their own cliquish snobbery!

Or maybe Jesus wanted to once again let the human race know how much God values this delicate thing we call faith. I don’t know about you, but someday I will be happy to stand in line and honor those who held on to their faith even when the enemy did everything in his power to rip it from their very being. It will be my great privilege to honor them.

I’m not sure if I’ve found the reason or not. But I do know this. God sees your faith; it is not forgotten—it mixes with God’s love and becomes life changing.

Dwight

PS. How do we break free of the “try harder” treadmill into the freedom that Jesus promised when He said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free?” What does that look like in the real world, and how do we get it? That’s our topic this week in Inner Wealth.

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Emotion and God

What does it mean to follow Jesus? If you were going to boil it down to its core, what’s it all about? The Apostle Paul answers that question in Romans 14:17: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit…”

Wow!

As I share in this video, following God is 2/3 emotion! Peace and joy are emotions.

This was news to me. I always thought God didn’t care about how we feel. He just wanted to make sure we behave. But that’s not what it says. Yes, righteousness is part of it, but righteousness comes as part of a package. In fact, the implication seens to be that if we don’t have peace and joy, we may not have righteousness either.

Hmm. Once upon a time, I would have been very discouraged about this. I would have thought: Oh, no. Not only do I need to behave, but I also gotta conjure up some kind of peace and joy. How am I going to do that?

But that’s not the idea. Rather this is an invitation. We can do a survey of what’s going on inside. Where am I struggling to feel at peace? Where am I missing joy? Where do I struggle with righteousness? We find those gaps, and then we invite Jesus in.

That’s the idea. God isn’t calling us to some try hard performance. He’s offering what we cannot manufacture on our own. He’s offering freedom. And that will be the subject I’ll be covering with our Inner Wealth subscribers starting 4/13/2019.

Be encouraged. Righteousness, peace, and joy is a gift from God. It’s yours. Just keep inviting Jesus in.

Dwight

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Delivered from the storm

Short video here, and/or read on:

A friend of ours was quite frightened by storms. Whenever it would storm, she would gather her children together and huddle in the basement. One day she was processing some of her fears with the Lord, and ended up in a memory where she was at a rest area (my wife says it was a campsite) with her large family of origin when a strong storm came in quite suddenly. It was her job to bring her little brother to the station wagon. As she took his hand, the wind started blowing so violently that it lifted her brother right off his feet. If she had not been holding on to him, he literally would have blown away.

Jesus brought peace, calm, and truth to her in this memory. The next time it stormed, no fear! In fact, she sat out in the yard in a chair enjoying the beauty and the majesty of the storm!

I like this story because it reminds us that who we are today is deeply linked to our past experiences. The present is rooted in the past. If we’re to move forward with God, we can’t ignore the past. Instead, we need to make peace with our past by taking Jesus to those painful places. I discuss this with our Inner Wealth subscribers starting 4/6/2019. Check out the Inner Wealth subscription here if you would like to learn more. 🙂

Have a super day!

Dwight

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There is a way back

When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Luke 7:37-38

See short video here, and/or read on:

I don’t think this woman was stupid. I think she knew very well that she would be scorned by the Pharisee. She didn’t expect welcome, but something compelled her to break through the crowd, and risk being thrown out, in order to fall at Jesus’ feet, weeping.

She lived a sinful life. In her flight from pain and her search for happiness, she made choices that offended God, hurt herself and created pain for others. There was no easy road back. The religious leaders had her typecast; she was pariah.

But now Someone arrived with a different message. There is a way back. No, there is something better than a way back. There is a redeemer who can start new and build a whole new life. A life free from shame, from fear, from sin, from alienation.

Was it too good to be true? She had to find out. And there at the feet of Jesus she found her answer. There at the feet of Jesus, she, and you, and I are transformed.

Dwight

PS. What role does the past play in your transformation? How do you overcome a painful past? Should you forget the past? Why doesn’t that work, and what can you do instead? How do you safely process painful memories? We’ll be addressing these questions for Inner Wealth subscribers starting 4/6/2019.

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Feasting while others starve

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so He went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. Luke 7:36

Jesus feasted while others starved. I know that may seem discomforting or even sacrilegious, but it is a truth that must be looked at.

See 4-minute video here, and/or read on:

We know that Jesus is our ultimate example of compassion and love. So we know that His actions did not stem from indifference or disregard. Let’s see if we can unravel what is going on here.

Many people feast while others starve. Most of these people feast because they live a self-centered life. They refuse to allow the needs of others to take them out of their comfort zone. They have trained their emotions to shut out the cries of the needy.

Others have awakened to human need. Something got their attention. It may have been the plight of 10-year-old Christian girls in Sudan who are sold as concubines by captors from the North. It may be the children who die because they lack an antibiotic injection that costs less than an American soft drink.

When we are awakened to need, we want like anything to shake other people out of their deep sleep of complacency.

But God chooses a different route. God calls us out of a guilt-driven, need-centered life just as surely as He calls us out of a complacent, self-centered life. He calls us to Himself—to a love-driven, God-centered life. Our lives are not measured, then, by our depth of sacrifice, but rather by our attachment to the Father. We can feast—even if our finances allow us only the feast of looking at a beautiful sunset, or listening to the song of birds. We can feast, drinking in and celebrating the love of God. And we can sacrifice, giving what we have to spread the love of God.

I suggest that Jesus lived a God-centered life. He met needs, and He left needs unmet. His attachment to the Father enabled Him to know when to give and when to receive. There is joy in both, and God designs for us to experience the full joy of giving and receiving. He also means for us to experience the freedom of letting Him be God. He will concern Himself with the needs He has not called us to meet.

Dwight

PS. What role does the past play in your transformation? How do you overcome a painful past? Should you forget the past? Why doesn’t that work, and what can you do instead? How do you safely process painful memories? We’ll be addressing these questions for Inner Wealth subscribers starting 4/6/2019.

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