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Friday, January 30, 2009
The Amish children were sure enjoying the snow yesterday!
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"The Power Of Touch"
"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 just touch the edge of His cloak, and all who touched Him were healed" (Matthew 14:35,36).
About twenty years ago Brooksyne and I became foster parents to overseas children who had life threatening illnesses. They came to the U.S. for medical treatment after preapproval from a U.S. hospital and team of doctors who agreed to care for them. Ester was our fourth child from Guatemala and was also available for adoption – she came to us at 3 months of age, went through many heart operations and has been a great blessing to us since that time.
About 18 years ago we went to Guatemala and visited the orphanage in Guatemala City where Ester spent her first three months. Babies, a number of them sick and abandoned by their birth mothers, lay in the orphanage day after day. Several were covered with scabies and needed major medical attention. We went from crib to crib and sought to stimulate each baby by speaking to them and holding them in our arms.
The haircutting line was long and it seemed the more she cut, the line continued to grow. Eventually she realized that the line kept growing because the children, after they got their haircuts, would go back and line up for another trim. They simply loved the individual attention and the human touch of a caring person. Though we couldn't speak their Spanish they craved the universal language of love.
Unlike the leper who feels nothing due to nerve damage we are warmed by the touch of another. Unlike our other four senses (sight, taste, hearing, and smell) which are located in specific parts of the body, our sense of touch is found all over our body. Amazingly, there are over 3,000 touch receptors in each of our fingertips.
Jesus invited the disciples to physically touch his hands and feet to feel the piercings from his crucifixion for further proof of His bodily resurrection. It wasn't enough just to see, they needed to feel the evidence as well (Luke 24:39).
When Jesus went about healing the sick and performing great miracles, news about Him quickly spread throughout the region. People traveled great distances and brought their sick with them. They knew that huge crowds would gather and it would likely be impossible to have a one on one audience with this Miracle Worker. But they also knew that healing virtue flowed out from Him and just touching the edge of His cloak could restore them to wholeness. In fact all who touched Him were healed.
I wonder what message we send to others by our touch? I like it when another person extends his or her hand toward me for a firm handshake. I enjoy it when my wife sitting in the passenger side of the car reaches over and laces her fingers through mine. I'm genuinely warmed by the hug of another brother who is expressing his brotherly affection for me.
Today, will you join with Brooksyne and me in extending your hand to the oppressed, to the unloved, to those in need. Be intentional in seeking out that person in church who comes alone and is often overlooked by others. Shake his or her hand and make eye contact – more than just a dutiful or passing glance. Communicate to God's creation that they are special to Him and special to you. Why not ask if you can sit next to them?
How about the homeless person or the mentally challenged? Those repulsed by the world are to be embraced by the godly. Our nursing homes are filled with people who long for a warm hug or a loving handshake. Giving a hand massage is a wonderful way to warm the heart while engaging the spirit of one who is lonely and just needs to know someone is genuinely interested in them. Will you be that person?
O to be His hand extended
Reaching out to the oppressed
Let me touch Him, let me touch Jesus
So that others may know and be blessed
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, help me to be Your hand extended to those in need. We so often complain about our own needs but in reality much of our own needs are met as we reach out to others in need. Your Scripture declares, "Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed." Help us not to put off that which You lay upon our hearts. May our gentle and loving touch be the finger of God reaching down from heaven to earth. We were created in Your image and we desire to portray Your loving character as well. Amen.
Brooksyne's Note: When I volunteered to cut the children's hair it didn't cross my mind that these children might be covered with head lice. I had no experience with such a parasite and it took several haircuts before I realized what I was seeing especially behind the ears. I breathed a sigh of relief when we left several days later and there wasn't a sign of lice in my hair….. until a week after I was back home in the U.S. Kathy, a dear friend in our church, came over and pulled them out one by one, doused me in head lice shampoo, and cut my hair eliminating even more head lice. It was a small price to pay for helping these precious children. I experienced a temporary discomfort of what they experienced daily.
Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
"The Touch Of The Master's Hand" Video This is a classic poem put to music years ago and sung by a choir. The story is acted out with an auctioneer and buyers. It is extremely well done!
"Touch Through Me Holy Spirit" Video The graphics and words of this song especially convey the message we wrote about today. It will touch your heart as you look at the images presented on this video of those who need the human touch. The touching pictures in this video brought to mind a visit I (Brooksyne) had at a Senior home this past week. I was going room to room making visits and it was nearing bedtime (7:00 PM) when I walked into Clara's* room and saw her fully dressed with the covers pulled up. When she saw me she began to ask repeatedly, "Where are my clothes? How am I going to get my clothes?" Though I tried to reassure her that an aid would soon be there to help her she couldn't hear me and became rather distraught. I spoke louder and again tried to reaessure her. Then I just sat on her bed and began to softly stroke her forehead and comb my fingers through her thin hair. As I did so I no longer saw her as one who is dull of senses and in the beginning stages of Alzheimers, but I began to imagine her as a little girl, a young woman, somebody's wife or mother. As I sat there unhurried and lightly massaging her scalp she began to rest and respond to the human touch. This song speaks to me today as a prayer, "Touch through me, Holy Spirit, touch through me."
*Not her real name
"He Looked Beyond My Fault" Video
Location of Rio Dulce orphanage (google map) For the terminally curious.
We dealt with some interesting traffic yesterday as one driver was bringing home her groceries in her pickup truck.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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