In preparation for our overseas travel April 15th I had to change my plan of eating yesterday from four meals to three to accommodate an oral Typhoid fever vaccination which must be taken on an empty stomach. I will have to do this again tomorrow and Tuesday. Yesterday I did this by adding a couple higher-calorie healthy foods to my third meal. I put an ounce of walnuts and a serving of unsweetened Shredded Wheat N’ Bran on my dinner salad. In future occurrences, I plan to spread the calories of the fourth meal into the other three more evenly. This requirement was made of me at the health clinic where we got our vaccinations caught up yesterday. We are very excited about traveling to Africa!
When Jesus heard this, he replied, “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.” (Luke 8:50, NRSV)
In today’s New Testament in a Year reading, I read the accounts of three miracles which all give some insight into the spiritual reality of man and this dark world. In the account of the demoniac known as Legion, I read of a man who was tormented such that everything in him possessed him to the exclusion of himself, his sanity, his physical well-being and self-care, and even his motor control. The story gives me more questions than answers, as I wonder why the pigs into which the “legion” of demons was cast immediately suicided themselves in the lake and why the demons would prefer that to “the abyss” into which they begged Jesus not to send them. Two things I learn from this: evil spirits are real and they have personalities, struggling to get what they want and to use man as their tool if they are able; and Jesus has authority over all of them, and they submit to Him even when He is casting them to their doom. On a side note, Jesus willingly allowed them to escape this “abyss” for a time, and granted their wish to go instead into the herd of pigs. This holds promise, because they and we know that the eternal condemnation of all evil is yet to come.
In the account of the hemophiliac, I read that the faith of the woman in the power of Jesus cured her rather than the will, words, or touch of Jesus Himself. When He asked, “Who touched me?” He announced that He didn’t know, but that He was cognizant of the fact that power had gone out from Him. There is power in those spiritual principles! God’s price for eternal, abundant life has been paid. It is ours to avail ourselves of it if we have the faith to receive it.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5, NIV)
Jairus’ plea and his daughter’s resurrection gives us a type by which we redeemed are also dead in the flesh and raised to walk in newness of life, but I read of a spiritual principle when I saw the words, “Her spirit returned”. The dead girl was without spirit. She wasn’t carrying a dead spirit, she was altogether without one. It had gone from her and was somewhere else. The Bible shows that, before Jesus conquered death, the spirits of the deceased took rest in a dark place of sleep, referred to as “the pit,” “the grave” or just “death.” This underworld of quiet rest was referred to in the original Hebrew as “Sheol” and in Greek as “Hades” and is not to be confused with Hell, (Greek: Tartarus, Hebrew: Gehenna), the place of eternal torment. The New Testament teachings indicate a different order – of being at home with the Lord when absent from the body (Philippians 1:23-24). There is what seems, on first reading, like a bit of a conflict when one reads of the dead in Christ rising on the last day (1 Thessalonians 4:16). It leads me to believe that the difference is one of soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12). While one or the other sleeps at rest until the Day of the Lord, the other is with Him in paradise, as the thief on the cross was promised (Luke 23:43).
Whether in spirit (life energy, breath of life), soul (mind, will, and emotions) or in body (the tent that will be transformed from flesh into heavenly likeness), we are able to enjoy togetherness with God when we practice it now, aligning all three with Him and His will in ever-increasing measure and be transformed into His spiritual likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Dear Father, today, I recognize that I am occupying a dark world that is not my home, but that You are King over all, even that prince of darkness who has limited rein in this age. I submit to You, Lord, and ask that You use me as an agent of Your will here on Earth. Bring about Your will for me, even as I am used to bring about Your will in the lives of those around me. Keep me from harm while I am employed in Your service, that I may be of better use to You and my fellows. Give me this day my daily supply, and protect me from evil, both from the spiritual attacks of the powers of darkness and from the deplorable rule of self in my mind. Help me live in Your liberty, and accept the gift of my voluntary service to You.