Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sir, we want to see Jesus

"Sir, we want to see Jesus John 12:20"
The Bible is full of incidences where "certain men" show up at opportune time. A "certain man" drew a bow at a venture and killed Ahab. A "certain man" told Joseph’s brother which road Joseph had taken. A "certain man" put the poisonous gourd into the pot of stew. Sometimes the names of the "certain men" are probably known to the Bible authors, sometimes not. Sometimes the "certain man" seems to be helping God’s will, sometimes he seems to be helping Satan. Sometimes we even see a "certain woman." But always, whether man or woman, God’s messenger or Satan’s, the certain person comes at a most important time in the life of the Bible character, and thus an important time in the life of Israel and/or Christ’s church.
On Palm Sunday, certain men from Greece told the disciples, "We want to see Jesus." What timing!
Jesus had recently brought Lazarus from the dead and Jesus had entered into Jerusalem where the people were in expectation and intended to make Jesus their king. Remember Satan’s temptation in the wilderness: "I’ll make you king of all the world"? Here was another temptation. Would Jesus allow the people to make him king?
Some have said the men from Greece probably wanted answer to the deepest questions of meaning, philosophical questions that they sure Jesus could answer. Others have said these men probably wanted to take Jesus to their cities where Jesus would be honored and free from the danger of death. Some don’t consider the men from Greece at all, because it seems –at first glance– that Jesus didn’t consider these men either.
But what does Jesus do when he hears that the men from Greece want to see him? He says, "My hour has come. Time for a grain of wheat to fall to the ground and die so that there will be a great harvest."
Like the call Paul received in a dream, "Come to Macedonia and help us" so Jesus is reminded by "certain men" that the rest of the world need to see Him. These men from Greece came at the exact time Jesus needed them to come. Jesus was Perfect God and Perfect Man, but Temptation is a tough thing. Whether or not Jesus actually needed to be reminded of his primary reason for living – to bring many sons to God– God sent him a reminder anyway. The Bible tells us that "because of the glory He saw ahead of Him" Jesus endured the shame of the cross. If Jesus was in danger of forgetting what his purpose was, here was the moment. The crowds were calling to him, they even seemed ready to believe in his gospel. But when the men from Greece arrived, Jesus remembered: He didn’t come on earth only to make Israel believe the gospel. He didn’t come to live one perfect human life and then die and be forgotten. He came to die, that he might live forever and might cause others –including those not in the fold of Israel– to also live forever. He had come for the salvation of the certain men from Greece.
All of us are born with a life’s purpose. As is evident from the amount of people in prisons, and the wrong jobs, many people simply miss their purposes. All our purposes have one simple goal: to bring many people to Christ, to bring many children to God.
Whether we are called to be artists, firemen, teachers, pastors, nurses, lawyers – whatever we do, we are doing for God’s glory and to help people see Jesus. A Christian artist must remember that those outside the family of God must be given an opportunity "to see Jesus." A Christian teacher must remember that she is teaching young minds to think so that they will not be deceived by the world’s views. A math teacher can show the beauty and order of nature, a health teacher can teach the beauty and order of the human body. A Christian nurse shows God’s love but also keeps the unsaved alive, giving them more time for them to live and "see Jesus."
Many times people lose sight of their original purpose in a particular job? When was the last time you realized that the world needed to see Jesus?
Prayer: Lord, help me to understand how my work helps me to show Jesus to others.

Carole McDonnell’s fiction, devotionals, poetry and essays have appeared in many publishing venues, in print and online. She is the author of a How to Write and Teach Bible Studies which is available for free download from ebooks-and-authors (dot) com She lives with her husband, their two sons, and their ferocious tabby Ralphina in upstate New York

Monday, October 16, 2006

Christian Bravery

I had an interesting little temptation this morning. I was writing a general email to folks -- from my other screenname- in which I talked about being a born-againer being in a book of transgendered persons. I realized that one of the people was a liberal who disliked born-againers. I was about to remove her name from the general address SEND TO and send her a solitary email in which I removed all mention of being a born-againer. But the Lord reminded me of what destroys the seed...the cares of the world and when persecution comes people are disloyal to Jesus and deny him. It took bravery but I sent the general email.

This morning I was listening to a Christian program which showed a tape of what had happened on the View where poor Elizabeth -- the bornagainer-- was being slammed by Rosie O'Donnell. Rosie was saying fundamental Christianity was just as bad as fundamental Islam. And I was just stressing out. I was shouting to the hubby: "Turn the channel! Turn the channel! You know I HATE being hated."

But God reminds us that if the world hated him, it would hate us.

I can only pray that God will strengthen me that I no longer fear the hatred of the world. That's the only way to conquer in loyal to him.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Possible Christian sub-genres

Okay, I was pondering all the various kinds of fiction genres and sub-genres out there in the secular world. Am thinking it's a shame that we Christian writers don't have more types of writing. Basically it's romance, scifi, fantasy, historical, and I know of someone who writes Christian Asian chick-lit. . Found myself creating some Christian sub-genres.

Christian ecofiction
Christian business fiction
Christian cyber-punk
Christian urban fiction
Christian erotic fiction
Christian ethnic fiction
Christian feminist fiction
Christian outcast-fiction.
Christian lad-lit
Christian missionary-fiction (I think my novel Windfollower might fall into this category.)

Ah we could go on. I think I just want the Christian publishing world to really challenge the secular world.


Sunday, September 17, 2006


I spent Saturday at the annual NY state right to life convention. Things really are way worse than I would ever have guessed. Way worse. And downright scary.

In addition to the usual stuff -- post abortion healing, resources for children who were created by rape and incest, the big thing being discussed was involutary euthanasi and brain death. What I came away with was the terrible knowledge that greed, scientific racism, and medical arrogance are totally out of hand and dwindling away at our rights. I also got my cynicism about the media renewed.

I always knew the media was pretty jaded. After all, Margaret Sanger and her Negro Project and anti-semitism and anti-hispanic mentality are all well-known but one never sees the media mentioning it. One of her most famous lines, (other than the one in which she told in her letters how much the KKK loved her for her eugenics plans) was the one where she stated, "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population...and we don't want this idea to get out to its more rebellious members." Or her comments in her book Women and the New Race where she talks about the need to sterilize the genetically inferior races" and even called for coercive sterilization, mandatory segregation and rehabilitative concentration camps for inferior Blacks, Hispanics, poor Whites, and Catholics. A couple years ago when Martin Luther King's daughter spoke at the convention, against Sanger's Planned Parenthood, she gave such statistics that I just thought..."oh my God!!! At this rate of abortion (and incarceration, and black-on-black crime) no wonder the black percentage of the population is dwindled to zip.

BUT the way the media totally ignores the fact that planned parenthood is a genocidal tool against blacks just annoys the heck out of me. They keep statistics hidden. And it really makes one wonder about how racist our society really is.

But what really got to me was the lack of rights and the manipulation of semantics when it comes to the notion of life. One guy talked about futile-care law. That's a law that says that even if the sick person and her relatives have declared that she wants to live no matter what, that the hospital bio-ethics committee has the right to overturn the family's request. This law is in several states, and was first signed by George Bush (a pro-lifer?) in Texas. Do I even have to say that this law has been used more on minorities, the poor, the disabled?

Then there is a law that is due to come into action in NY. This law concerns the organ donor check box on one's driving license. At present the law pretty much states that your family has the last word as to whether your plug can be pulled or you can be declared brain dead. In November, that right is taken out of your family's hand. If you end up in a hospital and the doctors think you should be declared brain dead or that your quality of life will be futile, they can take your organs without asking you.'

And this is where the creepy science fiction stuff comes in. Oh sure, we know that the medical world has always kinda aligned itself with arrogance, racism and cruelty. After all, there was the Tuskegee Airmen experiments where they didn't treat black men for syphillis just to see what happened with folks dying from the disease in the last stages. And there was Hitler's experiments. But now!!! We keep thinking we're enlightened.

Since certain organs can only be harvested by a living person, we need to have ways to have the person be still living yet still conveniently be called dead. There are 30 criterias for deciding if a person is brain-dead. (or heart-beating donors or neo-morts.) But the games tht are played. For instance, there is something called the non-heart-beating donor. That's a brain-dead person who has been taken off the monitor and whose heart is not "beating" And if the heart doesn't start beating on its own in the amount of time the hospital (and hospitals make about $1 million on each transplant) then the hospital can start taking the organs. But of course the definition of a beating heart, the amount of time it takes a heart to actually start beating after its been hibernating and healing, and the Apnea Test which is supposed to test if someone is brain dead actually damages the heart even more...are all administered by the hospital. Not to mention that the UDDA (Uniform Determination of Death Act) allows that a body can still be healing, still be breathing, still feel pain while the organ is being removed (that's why they give pain killers and paralyzing medicines to brain dead people when they operate on them so the brain-dead person doesn't flinch or wince or jerk from pain.)

And what really got me was the bio-ethical definition of "person." A human nonperson can be a comatose person, a disabled person who doesn't understand what it is to will to be alive therefore has no power to will to be alive, an unborn life, a normal young baby who cannot understand the nature of life. They passed out the latest journal fro, the Kennedy Institute of Healthcare Ethics -- the biggest most important bio-ethical institute in America-- and to say that my mouth opened when I saw words that could easily have been used by Hitler or slave-owners, and the greed and the desire to treat humans as a natural resource. We also had a disabilities advocate. The disabilities advocate were for Terri Schiavo but of course the media made it look like only nutty right-to-lifers were. And looking at the statistics of disabled, minority, severely disabled children, disabled or mentally-impaired old people, and the poor that have been subjected to the greed of medical science...well, it just made me want to weep.

I began to suspect at this rate in the next twenty years we will have a country where senile parents, disabled children, and poor blacks will become rarer and rarer. And when i thought of that, I said to myself..."I'm gonna work on my Daughters of Men book!" That's the book that had eugenics, racism, and a world with no weak people in it. I got my passion about that book back.

Anyway, the first thing I did when i got home was tell my son he's gotta get his name off that organ donor registry. Young Poor Black young men have good organs and fit into the genocidal plans really well. The statistics are staggering. -C

If you wish look around at the following sites you can get a better view than my ravings. (See Citizenlink)

Carole McDonnell Wind Follower June 2007 Juno (at) gmail (dot)com

Monday, September 04, 2006

Long journey to publication

I've got to say, that God has been very good to me and people --friends, strangers, etc-- have always been kind to me. A sweet grace and favor, that. So I was always getting helpful letters from editors and agents.

I started with a YA novel called The Herring Run which almost was picked up by Walker Books except that they said it was too episodic. The editorial assistant actually sent me a copy of the notes the editorial board had taken in deciding on the book. It was sooooo close. That was about ten years ago and I didn't really know much about writing.

That novel because Black Girls have always loved cowboys. Long story. But I tried to turn Herring Run into an adult novel. A collection of stories. I sent it to an agent I met at a conference. She said it was very melodramatic and boring and that I should really understand cause and effect and feel the emotions of the characters.

I began working on Treasures of Darkness. I sent it to an agent I met at a conference. He loved the beginning but said it went nowhere and that he wouldn't make enough money to feed his cat. Met a former editor at an art show and he said the story was drawn out. About 100 pages for the first night kinda thing.

I wrote Daughters of Men for Paul Witcover when he was editing for Harpercollins. HE liked it a lot and was really pondering buying it but then he left harper. He emailed me to say I should join some online writing and critting groups such as oww-sff and to show him DOM whenever I finished it.

I sent DOM to Rachel Vater at Don Maass but she said I was being redundant. I had to learn to show tension. I had to stop repeating myself. And my characters were always sitting down. She said to try to improve it.

I had to write a short story for an antho Brandon Massey was doing on black horror. Brian Jacobs was also doing an antho called Genre Noir. I figured I'd write a story called Father Gorgeous about a gorgeous semi-atheist priest who doesn't believe in the supernatural but who meets a demon. It missed out on the anthology because -- my usual problem-- my short stories never know when to quit. IT had two "beats" so I decided to make it a novel. I began fiddling around with it. It's about 66 pages but Lord knows what'll happen to it.

In the meantime I started writing Windfollower. It started out as a short story which I was writing for a contest. I like ballads so it was based on the Elizabethan ballad, "the trees they grow tall." But the contest came and went and I realized it was trying to be a novel. The flow of the story came so quickly that I said to myself, "this'll be my quick little shallow piece. I'll just toss it off. It'll be meaningless and just romance. Not as complicated or full of worldbuilding as DOM." Little did I know!!!! It became a story about a shamanistic culture meeting a monotheistic imperialistic racist country....with the Lost Book. Battles with demons and gods.

I sent it to Rachel. She said she had to turn it down because I still had that redundancy problem. I'm ebuddies with Cindy Ward who is the market maven for Speculations. NOTE: It is a weird thing in life that one cannot give without receiving, and all the folks who give tend to receive wonderful stuff...especially if they weren't expecting anything. There was an antho that Juno was doing -- best spec romance-- so I sent it to Cindy. She said thanks then emailed me to say that Paula Guran at Juno Books was really really really looking for good stories. She said I should send the story to Paula. So I sent DOM -- I sent mega synopsis and plot points and character studies and glossaries of DOM and just the synop and first 40 pages of windfollower. I told her however that I had been published in about 7 anthologies -- four or five fiction-- and I told her that with me "one word to the wise is sufficient." If she told me something, she could trust me to understand what she said...if she gave me a day or two to figure out what she meant. She figured she'd trust that I could write.

Because I had sent so much of DOM, she assumed DOM was the better written piece. I told her that DOM was written about five years ago and I really hadn't touched it in about two years. I said that actually Windfollower would be more finished of the two. But I sent her the first 200 pages of a 545 page octopus (Times New Roman no less) and Windfollower. I told her Windfollower was waaaay religious and she said the Juno guidelines said "No Christian fantasy...but Windfollower didn't seem religious like that...more spiritual."

She looked at both books and said she'd definitely go with Windfollower and she wants to do DOM except that DOM needs "a lot of work."

So that's about it. I tend to think it's just one of those grace of God things. Because she's been pretty cool about me fixing and repairing. I think it was because Wind follower is so odd and Cindy had said a good word for me and God had just given me grace and Paula was so desperate. All combined together.

As for what I want to do now, a part of me wants to work with DOM cause it's already finished and it's such a flaky world. But another part of me feels like I like Father Gorgeous and it's centered in this world. Like Windfollower, it's about the "real world" By this I mean, it has demons, humans, spiritual choices and both stories are things that have happened to missionaries or to people who have encountered the demonic. Unlike Dom which is truly creative....and deals with really far off fictive stuff that hasn't really happened.

Carole McDonnell Wind Follower June 2007 Juno (at) gmail (dot)com

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Discovery, not attainment

Jesus told His disciples: "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
Fallen human nature cannot help but strive. And Christians, who should know so much more and so much better because our Lord told us not to strive in this way, seem always to be striving.
We are to "die daily." 1 Cor 15:31
We are to "stand still and see the glory of the Lord."

In our weakness, God’s strength and power is made perfect because His grace is sufficient to do wonders and is made perfect in our weakness.

Jeremiah tells us in 10:23 "O Lord, it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."
Paul tells us, "When we are strong, then we are weak."
When we strive, and attempt to do things in our own will and strength, the power of God cannot flow.

Psalm 127 states, "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain."

Jesus tells us often in the Scriptures to "repent and believe." He wants us to repent from the lesser sins, yes, but the GREAT sin he wants us to repent of – the Sin the Holy Spirit will convict the world of– is the Sin of unbelief. This is the father of all sins: we do not believe a word God says to us. It is the same sin Adam and Eve encountered when Satan said to them, "Has God said?" Deep in our hearts we are at enmity with God and we don’t trust Him or believe His promises and His good will toward us.
The gospel is God’s good news to humanity, and the gospel is primarily about what God has done for us. The Bible is full of God’s precious promises, and these promises are about God’s perfect will for us. We are to strive in faith, not by doing our own strength, and not in our will. We are to strive to rest and stand in the truth we have discovered in His words.
The Bible is full of God’s promises waiting to be discovered. The theme of discovering the truth is everywhere in the Bible:

Thy words were found and I ate them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good
"Precious Promises."
"A treasure found in a field."
But because fallen human nature cannot help but strive, we forget that it is the discovery of truth that sets us free. We can work and work to our heart’s content, but if we do not discover a truth, and rest in that truth, the truth cannot work in us.

St Paul tells us, "Not I, but Christ."
God tells us that "without me, you can do nothing."
He tells us to "take no thought for our life."
He tell us to "trust in the Lord with all our hearts and to lean not unto our own understanding.
God tells us "Come unto me all who are heavy-laden and I will give you shall find rest for your souls."
He tells us to "Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him."
He tells us that "God watches over His word to perform it."
The promises of God, therefore are discovered and believed in. All the blessings of God – health, prosperity, spiritual growth– are to be discovered and accepted. They are not to be accepted by faith, and attained through reliance on God’s spirit working within us.

God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness.
God has blessed us
God has given us favor
God has set us free.
We shall not want.
God supplies all our needs.
God gives seed to the sower.
If we "know the truth" the truth sets us free. Consider electricity and gravity. These truths existed since the beginning of time but could not be applied to our lives until they were discovered. One of the great truths of the Bible is that "All things are yours." These things – healing, prosperity, blessings– are ours already. Just as Jesus has already saved all men, but in order for people to accept that salvation, they must hear about it and accept it.
We are told to
"bring every thought captive to the knowledge of Christ." 2 Corinthians
"not be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds."
"fight the good fight of faith."
that "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but are spiritual and pull down mental strongholds."

We know that we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. But, at the same time, we don’t understand that this work consists in "only believing." We work by reading the Bible and discovering a promise or truth and setting our hearts to believe in it and to storm heaven with our trust. The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. The violent are those who with a trusting heart decide they will rest in the promise and in no other truth. The striving work we must do is to be careful what we hear. We must trust God’s spirit within us and within His work to make us holy. And we must meditate on and live in God’s word in order that we will not be pulled into the worldly way of thinking. God’s ways are not our ways. And the more we listen to the world, the more unconvinced we become about God’s ways. When this happens, we allow ourselves to become enslaved to sin, sickness and death. We stop believing that the blood of Jesus, the word of God, and the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed us from sin, sickness, poverty, and death.
So then, let us strive to enter into God’s rest. In the day when we hear God’s voice, we are not to harden our hearts as the Israelites did when they saw God’s works and disbelieved. We are not to harden our hearts as Pharoah hardened his. We are not to harden our hearts as the disciples did when Jesus performed the miracles of the loaves. (Mark 6) We are to trust God, open our hearts to his power and love, and rest in His truth. We are to enter into God’s rest and to cease from our own works.

God tells us, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my strength."
The Word tells us, "The flesh profits nothing."
He tells us that all the wonders of salvation are the gift of God lest anyone should boast.
This means that just as we accept salvation of our souls by faith, so we accept the salvation of our bodies, emotions, and all aspects of our lives by the same faith. When we first accept Christ, we trust that He will sanctify us wholly. Indeed, the Bible states that Jesus was wounded for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we WERE healed. God calls those things that are not, as though they were. And even when our godparents accept salvation for us as children, they are believing by faith that we are already saved adults.

Jeremiah 9:24: Thus saith the Lord, "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exerciseth lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight."
All this is summed up in these words from our Lord: "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
If you abide in me
Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord...and in God’s law he meditates day and night.
This one thing I do forgetting what’s behind I press toward the high calling of Jesus Christ.
I am the true vine...abide in me
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength
We love him because he first loved us

and my words abide in you
Take heed how you hear
For they considered not...
He who has little, the little he has shall be taken away
The Seed is the word of God...the sower comes to take the seed

then you shall know the truth
My people perish for lack of knowledge
Where there is no vision the people perish
the word did not profit them because of their unbelief
Your father knows what you need before you ask him.
My word is truth
I am truth

and the truth shall set you free.

If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.
The promises of God are yea, and Amen.
The Word of God is alive and active and sharper than a two-edged sword
The words of God are health to all your flesh
Whom the son sets free is free indeed.
That we might serve Him without fear all the days of our lives.
Jesus, who has freed us from the law of sin and death
Perfect love casts out fear
If he gave us his son freely, how will not freely give us all things?
Godliness profits in this life as well as the next

Moral: Read your Bible and be blessed by meditating on the Scriptures and the Promises of God.
Lord, let me trust in your love, care and power in my life and rest in them. Amen.

Carole McDonnell’s fiction, devotionals, poetry and essays have appeared in many publishing venues, in print and online. She lives with her husband, their two sons, and their ferocious tabby Ralphina in upstate New York. Her novel, Wind Follower, will be published in June 2007 by Juno books.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Every Bible story is unique

Every Bible miracle is unique. Often we feel that the main point of the story is to show us that we must have faith. But if we study each miracle carefully, we will see that while faith is present, other occurrences in the story also teach us about how to receive miracles in our lives.
Yes, there is more besides faith.
Here are a few examples of other lessons we can learn from these miracles. I’ll only deal with the miracles done by Jesus.
The raising of the widow’s son
Here is a case where God healed simply because he was compassionate and his heart grieved for someone. The widow didn’t even ask for her son to be healed. Perhaps she was wondering in her heart about how she would live without a son in her old age, but she didn’t expect such a divine appointment. If we understood God’s love, and how faith works by love, what miracles we would have!
The woman with the issue of blood
She had heard that Jesus was healing people and she knew that some considered him to be the Messiah. She searched the Scriptures to see if what she heard about him was true and decided to touch the fringes of his garments – which symbolized the Malachi promise of the Son of Righteousness rising with healing in his wings. Continue confessing the word: She believed what she heard about Jesus and from that moment she kept saying "If I touch him, I will be healed." We don’t know how long she said this, but she didn’t only think this, she spoke this over and over. The law of healing works for all who fall in line with it. She was healed without Jesus being aware of her. This reminds me of the keys to the kingdom can be used by any who understand it. Such laws such as tithing, speaking positively, etc have been used by those outside the kingdom. The gospel is preached to the poor and if one has neither money nor medical help, there is still a savior. Don’t care about other’s people’s opinion of your faith.– She could have been killed because she was unclean because of the issue of blood, but she didn’t have the fear of man that brings a snare.
The friends of the crippled man
This teaches the power of intercession. This paralyzed man doesn’t say anything. His healing comes because of his friends. This certainly teaches that in some cases, a sick person doesn’t have to speak to God about his illness. The prayer of a loving and interceding church can do wonders. What a challenge it is to most modern churches! When someone is sick among us, we should show our love and our faith by going all out to intercede for the person. This doesn’t mean judging the person or exhorting them or trying to get the person to acknowledge his sin. Just simply being obsessed with getting our brothers and sisters well. This story also teaches that sometimes a sin is behind a disease. Jesus told the man to go and sin no more. We assume the man didn’t sin again.
The man beside the pool of Bethesda
This is a miracle about a man who was waiting for one kind of miracle and received a higher form of miracle. This man was always looking for an intercessor to help him, and for a supernatural agency to bring about his healing. This man was in a rut and could only see one way out of his healing. I have no doubt there are supernatural ways of being healed that has nothing to do with Jesus, but some of these are so far-fetched and the person is so alone we must look to Jesus. Jesus wanted him to look to the source of healing. Jesus. Perhaps this would heal the man and make him feel less forgotten and rejected. He was also among other sick folks and in his own mind, there were other folks as sick or sicker than he was. The ones who were sicker had family to help them. The ones who weren’t so sick could help themselves. There is nothing worse than thinking healing has a time or quantity limit and one has to fight with other sick people for the universe’s attention. When Jesus called to him, he must have been surprised to see that God had not forgotten him. This miracle also challenges us to ask ourselves if we really do want to be healed. Some people have gotten used to their sickness because the illness has been with them long. Some people can’t be healed because in their heart they really want to die. This man had been in such a state for so long that he needed to know that God saw him. Like the woman with the issue of blood, and like Lazarus, we understand that it is never too late to have a miracle.

The man born blind (without eyes)
This man was born with a disability and from childhood had been told all the supposed reasons why God made him sick. In many countries even now people think some people are born sick because of something they did in the womb or in a past life or because of family generational sins. Whatever the reason, Jesus told the man that the man was not born to be disabled all his life; the man was born to be healed.
The blind man outside Bethsaida
This is the only healing where Jesus actually asked the sick person if it worked, and where Jesus had to pray twice. Bethsaida is one of the cities Jesus cursed because of their hardened hearts. This shows that sometimes a sick person must be taken away from an atmosphere of unbelief in order to be healed, and after they’ve been healed they must be careful about returning to unbelievers lest they lose their healing.
The raising of Lazarus
This healing shows that Jesus often delays most when helping those whom he loves most. It shows also that delay doesn’t mean denial. It is never too late for Jesus to help. Like the raising of the widow’s son, this healing would seem to be unnecessary. After all, we are taught to believe that if someone dies we simply bury them, but the early church didn’t think so. When someone died, they often prayed for them to become alive again. How wonderful it would be if whenever we hear that someone has died, the first thing we would do as Christians is to pray for them to be returned to us!
The few sick folk in Jesus hometown
This is another case of unbelief. But this is the unbelief of people who think they "know" Jesus. They are like people who have "grown up knowing all about Jesus" and so they don’t want to be enlightened or to see him in a new way.
Carole McDonnell is the author of a How to Write and Teach Bible Studies which is available for free download from See her other articles at

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