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Stretch Out

Daily Reading:  Mark 3

 

Come here… Stretch out your hand. (Mark 3.3, 5)

 

Devotional Thought: Jesus encountered a man with a shriveled hand in the synagogue.  This man was undoubtedly a regular there.  Week after week he had come through the “church” doors. Week after week he had kept his hand tucked into his cloak, politely hiding the deformity, keeping other worshipers from being "discomfited."

 

But today was destined to be different. His hand would be completely restored! 

 

We don’t know how his hand came to be deformed.  Perhaps he was born that way.  Or maybe it was due to a childhood accident.  He may have injured it at work.  We don’t know if he had caused it or if someone else did.  But we do know that it brought loss of income and a sense of being under the judgment of God.

 

Are you like that man today?  Perhaps you have been going to church for many years, yet you have been hiding a shriveled hand inside a cloak of respectability.  You’ve learned to live with the handicap, and sometimes don’t even notice it is there.  But there is a nagging sense that somehow you are under the judgment of God.

 

You are not.  Jesus loves you and wants to heal your shriveled hand.  But he cannot do it while you have it hidden inside your cloak.  He had two words for the man in the synagogue that day: “Come” and “Stretch”.  What those two commands look like is different in every situation, but I believe those two words apply:

1)     Come with faith.  Believe God’s love.  Act on his word.

2)     Stretch out your hand.  Give him your sickness, your sin, your shame.

 

Come and stretch out your hand and be made whole!

 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the invitation to come to you and to give you my defects and deformities.  I know that you will not cast me from you, but rather call me to you.  In faith I receive your love and life.  Amen.

 

Psalm of the Day: 2:7-12

I will tell of the decree:

The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;    

today I have begotten you.

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,    

and the ends of the earth your possession.

You shall break them with a rod of iron    

and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;    

be warned, O rulers of the earth.

11 Serve the Lord with fear,    

and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son,    

lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,    

for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

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