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DELIVERANCE
The woman mentioned briefly in Luke 8 knew the importance of waiting for Jesus. Somehow she heard that Jesus was passing through her area, and she made a decision that would ultimately change her life. She planned her own deliverance!

The people came close to her, all crowding around Jesus. No one wanted to miss the next miracle. They were with the Miracle Worker.

On the fringe was the woman. I imagine that she had a speech all prepared in which she would share the most intimate details of a disease that was destroying her. Yet when Jesus passed by, there was no time for a presentation or speech. All she could do was press through the throng and touch the hem of His garment. And when she touched Him, His strength became her strength. His power became her power. His presence became her presence. In that moment she was made whole. She was healed!

Jesus stopped and asked this incredible question: “Who touched Me?”

You’ve got to understand the culture in the Middle East. People in that area are hardly standoffish. They crowd and touch matter-of-factly. They cling to each other. With all the excitement, Jesus stops the crowd and asks, “Who touched Me?”

The disciples were incredulous: “How can You ask that?”

Jesus continues, talking about someone with a special need who had touched Him. When the woman came forward, the Lord said something that flew in the face of so much of today’s religious teaching: “Daughter, be of good cheer, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

Why is that statement as remarkable today as it was when Jesus said it? He pointed to the woman’s faith as the active ingredient in the miracle she received. If we could only understand this story — and the points Jesus taught — we could revolutionize our world.

One of the greatest needs today is to realize what God has provided for us through Christ Jesus. When we understand true faith, we can take our faith and change the circumstances! That’s called planning your own deliverance.

DELIVERANCE FOR ANYONE
The story recorded in chapter 8 of Luke tells us many things. For starters, as mentioned previously, life hurts. It hurts for everyone — the woman who had the issue of blood, as well as you and me. You see, God is no respecter of people. Jairus was a powerful, key man, but even he had a daughter who was dying. The woman with the issue of blood, by contrast, was just another faceless, nameless person who had a life-threatening problem. Talk about contrasts!

God loves the powerful and the weak, as well as all in between. He is willing to heal the significant people, but He also loves healing the “little” people.

Believe it or not, we all have problems. The disciples faced challenges. The apostle Paul, even after he had written much of the New Testament, ran headlong into problems that would make most of us quit. Run down any list of the heroes of the faith: Martin Luther, John Calvin, the Wesley brothers, Fanny Crosby, Billy Sunday, even Billy Graham. They all had problems.

Likewise, as with all the heroes, all of us have access to the Problem Solver. Too often we spend time thinking, Oh, if I was only a minister like that person, or If I had his job, or her money — then everything would be wonderful and I wouldn’t have any problems. Wrong! All of us have challenges. Remember, life hurts for both Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood.

Jairus knew that Jesus was the Problem Solver, because he came and begged Jesus to come with him. Jesus went. Then, in the midst of the procession, He stopped to minister to the woman with the issue of blood.

Jesus doesn’t go with you or stop for you because of your position in life, nor is He impressed because of your education, nor does He judge you because of where you come from. He receives you just as you are. He receives you even if you have failed miserably as a young person. He receives you with one failed marriage, many failed marriages or if you have never been married. He receives the drug addict, the murderer and the innocent child. He receives each of us just as we are.

Society doesn’t do that.

Our families don’t always do that.

The church doesn’t do it.

Neighbors don’t do it.

But Jesus does. When we come to Him with an honest heart, He receives us just as we are.

APPLICATION
Either God’s Word is true or it isn’t. God will either do what He has promised, or He will not do it. The promises of God are either reliable or they aren’t.

The sad fact is that unbelief is keeping back God’s richest blessing on His people today. Unbelief holds back God’s miracles. Can you imagine what would happen if His own people would stop holding back revival? Doubtless there would be more people saved than ever before, since the Lord only manifests himself to faith and not to unbelief. He refuses to work unless people believe Him first. He will not work for us when we make Him out to be a liar by not believing His Word.

Unbelief is the opposite of faith. If you desire to move forward in faith and plan your own deliverance, you cannot continue in unbelief. It is only where God finds the exercise of living faith that He can work.

Now it’s time to do something about it. You must plan your deliverance, just as the dying woman said, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well” (Matthew 9:21).

Are you facing a financial crisis? Do you need healing in your body? Are there unsaved loved ones? Remember faith is the active ingredient that opens the windows of heaven. Jesus said so. You and I determine deep down inside. That’s where faith begins.

“For she said to herself. … ” That’s where it starts. Press through and touch Jesus and be made whole!


Sam Johnson assists the missionaries and nationals of Eastern Europe in establishing Bible schools and training centers. He serves as the vice president of Mission of Mercy, serving Europe and Africa in cooperation with the Assemblies of God.

Adapted with permission from Trusting God: Strength and Encouragement for Troubled Times, compiled and edited by George O. Wood, Hal Donaldson and Ken Horn (Springfield, Mo.: Onward Books, 2003).

E-mail your comments to pe@ag.org.

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