2

But they did not know that I healed them. Hosea 11:3 NASB

I was chasing down the cross reference from Matthews account of Jesus’ birth

"OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON." - Matthew 2:15 NASB

and it led me to Hosea 11.

There I found a heartbreaking story of how the Father led His children, Israel, out of the bondage of slavery in Egypt. The language is touching and tender:

I called My son.
I took them in My arms.
I taught them to walk.
I healed them.
I led them with bonds of love.
I lifted their yoke.

That last bit reminds me of the Psalm.

He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions. - Psalm 107:20 NASB

And yet, the sad truth is:

But they did not know that I healed them. - Hosea 11:3 NASB

Do we miss what God has done in our lives?

He called me His son—us His sons and daughters.

He stretched out His arms toward me.

He taught me to walk.

He saved (sozo - saved, healed, delivered, freed) me to the uttermost.

He led me with bonds of love so deep and strong it cost his very life.

He took my yoke upon Himself.

And there are days I forget that He healed me. I forget He lifted my yoke. I forget how to walk as He taught me.

Lord, heal me again. Let us walk together. May my heart and mind ring with your truth day and night. May I walk in all that you have given me and never again despise your gifts.

5

There is no way to
get rid of this kind of
demon except by prayer.
Mark 9:29

Help My Doubts

Father of a Demon-Possessed Boy

I remember the doctor saying to us, years ago, “Keep a record of his bad days.” My son—my eight-year-old boy—Enoch and I visited the doctor often in those first days. It’s been another eight years since we stopped going to doctors. For seven of them, we’ve found it easier to record the good days than count the bad.

The first sign the demonic attack has begun—we now know it’s a demon—is Enoch’s eerie silence. His eyes glaze over and it seems like he has gone away. He can’t hear—or at least he doesn’t respond to sound—and never speaks.

In the beginning, we thought he was sick. My wife, Havah, and I took him to our family doctor in the village. At first, this demon did not awaken while we were with the doctor, so he didn't know how to help. Enoch, couldn’t tell the doctor much. He couldn't remember what happened during his episodes. He just fell—no—not fell—it was like being thrown to the floor. Then he rolled around the ground as stiff as a board,  foaming at the mouth. If there was anything dangerous nearby, like fire, or water, or a steep drop, he’d head right for it.

Our third visit to the doctor was after a furious episode where Enoch found his way right into an open fire. It scorched more than half the skin on his left side. The doctor said he could  treat the burn, but he told us we should see a priest or rabbi. He didn’t think Enoch had any disease.

“This boy is possessed by a devil, and I can’t help you,” he told us as he gave us some salve for his burns.

After that, we went from rabbi to rabbi, each one shrugged his shoulders and wished he could do more.

It’s been seven years of rabbis and priests. We’ve given special offerings at the temple and paid for professional intercessors. We’ve gone to every house of prayer in Judea. Once we even traveled up to the temple at Shechem in Samaria to see if they could help us.

About a year ago, I started hearing stories of a rabbi from Galilee who was casting out demons and healing the sick. At first, I didn’t want Enoch and Havah to get their expectations aroused, but as the stories multiplied my heart began to hope.

One of my neighbors returned from a visit with some family up north near Tiberius. He told me of a pair of Jesus’ disciples going through the town. They were healing the sick and casting out demons in the streets. I’ve know Ari for many years, and he wouldn’t repeat these stories if there were any doubt in his mind. He was there. He saw men and women healed before his eyes, even some possessed by demons like my boy.

That’s when I started planning. I didn’t tell my wife, or even my son, what I was really up to. I didn’t want to lie to either of them. I just told Havah I wanted some time alone with my boy. I started planning for a trip with Enoch to find this Healer. I would tell Him my boy’s story. If He refused or couldn’t help, the disappointment would only fall on me.

I learned that He had been seen teaching and healing near Cana up in Galilee, so I packed our things and Enoch and I headed north.

Traveling with Enoch is no holiday. Everywhere we go, we have to be prepared to deal with his oppressor. This trip was no exception. In fact, the spirit's brutality the first night made me think we were might be headed in the right direction. The vile captor in Enoch’s young body protested more than ever. We didn’t sleep at all the first night we were on the road. Before I even had the fire burning hot enough to cook some dinner, he was flailing around and smothered it, at great cost to his own flesh. It was a grueling three days and two nights.

When we got close, someone told us the Teacher was on Mount Tabor. So we followed the road down from Cana to the east. As we approached the mountain, we found crowds at the base. I expected this. The accounts I’ve heard always have large crowds around this Healer.

It was nearly sundown when we came upon a few of the Healer’s disciples surrounded by dozens of on-lookers. They had just healed a couple of blind men. Next, they were laying hands on a lame woman lying on a sort of mat in the middle of the group. As we pressed our way into the center of the gathering, we saw this woman on the bed getting to her feet. Then she started jumping and running around the circle of spectators.

The disciples looked almost as stunned as the no-longer-bedridden woman. One of these men called out, “It’s the name of Jesus that heals the sick and delivers anyone in bondage.”

We had found Him.

I started waving frantically, crying out “My son, help my son!” I must have looked a little mad myself. I began to tell my son’s story to the one they were calling Andrew. There were three other groups like the one I was in, each surrounding what looked like a few disciples.

"I'm Andrew," said the man who was speaking, "and this is Simon the Zealot."

As soon as I began to describe Enoch’s condition, my son flew to the ground. I had my back to him, so I didn’t see the warning signs. I would have steered him away from the crowd before he went it to the full display of fury that is my son’s daily reality.

He was rocking back and forth, jerking up and down, six inches into the air and then slammed down again, rolling over so the foam covering his mouth was full of the Galilean dirt. Andrew and Simon hurried over to him and began to command the demon to come out.

“In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, come out,” they called.

Nothing changed. They said it a little louder. “In the name of Jesus, come out.”

They asked others in the crowd to hold him still while they prayed for him, laying their hands on his head and chest.

He thrashed and freed his arms. Then began slashing at them with his fists and scratching with his fingernails.

Andrew and Simon called two of the other disciples over to them and they started out the same way.

“In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, come out.”

Nothing.

I have to say, they didn’t give up. The sky grew fully dark and the air chilled as this failed exorcism went on into the night.

Finally, sometime after midnight, I took Enoch away from the crowd and we found a quiet place to get some rest. He had been in full manifestation for hours, and when he finally calmed, he was ready to sleep.

The sun was already well above the horizon when we awoke. The commotion that woke us was the arrival of Jesus and three more of his followers. They had apparently spent the night on the mountain. I’d never seen anything like Jesus. He was glowing—glowing! It wasn’t just the sun shimmering off his robes. The light emanated from Him.

As we approached Andrew called to Jesus, “Here they are Mater. We did everything you taught us and nothing changed.”

Once I realized that Jesus was right there, I said, “Teacher, I brought my mute son, made speechless by a demon, to you. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and goes stiff as a board. I told your disciples, hoping they could deliver him, but they couldn’t.

Jesus said “What a generation! No sense of God! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here."

Andrew took Enoch by the hand and led him to the Master.

The demon in my boy did his worst. He slammed him to the ground with no warning whatsoever. He pushed him right into a nearby fire. He convulsed and foamed and moaned, teeth grinding and eyes wild.

Jesus asked, “How long has this been going on?

Ever since he was a little boy,” I replied. "Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!"

Jesus’s eyes looked eager. “If?” He responded. “There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen."

That brought me up short. “I do believe;” I blurted, but then I wondered if I did, so I added, “Help me with my doubts!

I think the crowd knew something big was about to happen because they started to press in. Some just realizing that Jesus was back, others hearing the conversation. Everyone wanting to see what He would do.

"Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you—Out of him, and stay out!" Jesus spoke directly to the spirit who had tormented my son—my whole family—for the last eight years.

Enoch cried out, lifted off the ground and then fell back down with a thud. This time not rigid, as in times past, but more like a rag doll, begin tossed away. He lay there for what seemed an eternity. The crowd started murmuring.

He’s dead.”

“He killed the boy.”

Jesus walked over to Enoch, leaned down and grabbed his hand and pulled. At that moment, Enoch’s eyes opened, the color came back into his face. He nearly bounced up off the ground. With his hand in the hand of the Healer, he looked more alive than he had since the evil first took him. The joy was back in his eyes, the joy of a child with a future.

The two days traveling home seemed like a dream to both of us. In every village, at every meal, we shared our story with everyone we met. We were not just witnesses to a miracle. We were changed by our short visit with Jesus. His Words changed my boy and turned my hope into an unshakable faith.

My Havah could hardly believe her eyes. One look at Enoch’s countenance told the whole story. My son was bound, but now his chains are gone. His captivity is over. He’s free!

Messiah truly has come in our day.

~~~
To read the original story, see Mark 9:15-30. Quotes come from the Message Bible.

Copyright - Benjamin Nelson - 2016

Encounters With Jesus - Available Now
Encounters With Jesus - Available Now

If you enjoyed this story you can find forty more in my book Encounters With Jesus. It takes the reader from Christ's conception to His resurrection through the eyes of dozens who were touched by His ministry.

You can get your copy today in paperback or kindle on Amazon. If you want both you can get the Kindle version for only 99c when you buy the paperback on Amazon.

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

1)    The gospel was preached
2)    The gospel was received
3)    Those who receive stand
4)    Those who receive are saved
5)    Those who receive hold fast

The past 2 days we have looked at the first three implications of the gospel in the Church of Corinth. Today we will finish up with the last two.

Those who receive are saved

I grew up in and around Church all my life. This word “saved” has always been part of my vocabulary. At a very young age I asked Jesus to save me

When I was a kid and even into my twenties, the meaning of the word “saved” was pretty simply rescued from a future burning in hell.

I grew up in a generation of evangelism that focused heavily on the punishment of unbelievers. They for sure understood what Jude was talking about when he said,

 save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. ~ Jude:23

Then I started to study this word “saved” and found it to be one of the most fascinating and compelling words in scripture.

The Greek word here is ‘sozo’ and its meaning are very similar to that of the Hebrew word ‘shalom.’ I know when you hear the word shalom, you may be thinking peace – especially since it is used as a day to day greeting, it can lose its meaning pretty quickly. But the simplest and most profound definition I have heard for shalom is ‘whole – complete – nothing broken and nothing missing.’ I love that!

Sozo is like that. It is not simply that when you enter a covenant relationship with Jesus that He saves you from hell (and He does) but He also makes you whole.

In the gospels this word, sozo, is translated, saved, healed, delivered, and made whole.

I love the phrase the writer to the Hebrews uses:

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. ~ Hebrews 7:25

So then – those who receive Him, who come to Him, He saves to the uttermost! Hallelujah!

Those who receive hold fast

So what does it mean to hold fast? Is this some kind of work of the flesh Paul is foisting on us? I don’t think so. No deed of the flesh can hold us or attach us to that which was given to us supernaturally.

Picture this:

There is an jumbo jet  - let’s call it a concord jet – one of those supersonic babies from the 90’s. It is flying across the pond headed to France. God has a plan to get you to France for a meeting He wants you to attend. So He reaches out of heaven (picture a giant Mickey Mouse glove) delicately picks you up by the collar and places you on the jet – not in but on. Then He tells you, “Ok, it is My will that you go to Paris and preach at Notre Dame. I have gotten you on the plane, all you have to do is hold on till you land in Paris. It should only be 3 hours.”

Hold On, We're almost there!

Yeah – no – I am pretty sure that in this strictly supernatural journey we are on there is no amount of our own holding on that will keep up on the plane. Jesus holds us!

So what are we holding fast?

He is talking about holding on to the truth - to the gospel – contending for the faith – holding what is true, and letting everything else go.

When I say holding the truth – there is an element of protecting it, but I believe the bigger job is protecting ourselves from the lies. Even lies like – you have to hold on to Jesus or you’ll end up in hell.

If we could hold on, we would not have needed Jesus to die and rise and present His precious blood to the Father.

Next we will look at the gospel in its simplest form.

Ben NelsonCome back Monday

See you then.

Tomorrow there are some great questions to toss around – don’t miss it.

Ben

Let his left hand be under my head
And his right hand embrace me.
~ Song of Songs 2:6

What can we see in the Savior's embrace?

The maiden calls out here for both the left and right hands or arms of the Shepherd King.

The left hand is under my head – it is out of my sight.

How much does the Lord do in your life that you never see? How much is behind the scenes? How often do you walk into a situation or circumstance and find that the Lord has laid all kinds of groundwork before you ever arrived?

Ever have a close call, where one minute, or even second of difference in timing may have meant life or death?

Paul tells us:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

How much of that working is done out of your line of vision?

That is His left hand behind your head.

Then there is His wonderful right arm. Those times you can actually feel His love in every fiber of your being. You see His hand of protection and provision, His answer to you desperate prayer, and your deepest longings.

His right arm’s embrace is manifest love, manifest actions on your behalf, provision, healing, help in time of need.

It is His deliverance. Five times in the book of Deuteronomy you find mention of the Lord’s mighty hand and outstretched arm rescuing Israel from the hand of slavery.

Let’s not forget this wonderful comfort in Isaiah:

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10

In short, there is no better place than the Lord’s embrace.

Oh dear ones, press in with me, and let’s seek His face together today.

Deb at Deb's Blog posted a related poem last week - check it out :

“You Open Your Hand”

BenThanks for going on this journey into intimacy with me.

See you next week.

Ben

Yesterday we took a look at an encounter a Canaanite woman had with Jesus and the disciples. I want to poke around just a bit on one portion of their conversation today.

And He (Jesus) answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.

But she (the Canaanite woman) said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

Matthew 15:26-27 NASB

Perhaps you will remember that she came to Him begging for Him to heal, or perhaps I should say exercise her daughter. The daughter was “cruelly demon-possessed” as it says in verse 22.

This next bit interests me. He tells the disciples (He does not address her directly yet) that you don’t just give the “children’s bread” to dogs.

This word bread is not the sliced loaf of wonder bread you might find in the grocer’s aisle today. It was a bread that was meant to be broken, not sliced. It was the bread used in the Passover meal, the same kind of bread they kept in the temple.

This bread He referred to was, well, Him. He was is the Bread of Life that had to be broken for our sozo, our salvation.

Sozo is a transliteration of the Greek word that means Salvation. This is one of the greatest words in the New Testament. It is translated many different ways. Here are a few examples.

Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Luke 8:12 “And those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they may not believe and be saved.

Matthew 9:21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

Matthew 9:22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

Mark 5:23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.

Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

(All of the above are from the KJV)

As you can see, the word describes salvation, healing, and deliverance from demonic possession and oppression.

When Jesus speaks of Himself as the Bread of life, broken for us, this breaking brings us this full salvation – as the writer to the Hebrews puts it – salvation to the uttermost.

When we celebrate communion, we take both bread and wine. The wine signifies the Blood of the Lord Jesus. This blood, the blood of the Lamb without spot or blemish, is effectual to wash away our sins.

Bread!So why did He insist that we must eat the bread, His body broken for us.

Next time you take communion, I want you to consider that Jesus' body broken for our salvation, for our healing, our deliverance, our “wholeness.” By the stripes He bore in His body, we are healed, delivered, made whole, put back together the way we were designed.

And get this. Just the crumbs that fell off the table were enough for the full healing of this woman’s demon possessed daughter, how much better for the children sitting at the Master’s banqueting table?

Take – Eat – His Body broken for you!

BenThanks for stopping in.

See you tomorrow

Ben