READ: Matthew 8:1-27
THINK: Think about the people at school, work or in your community who seem to be shunned by others. Perhaps they are the brunt of jokes, the subject of gossip or even a punching bag for those who are bent toward cruelty. Then again, people may pay no attention to them. Like Jesus, are you willing to reach out with compassion and 'touch” those who may be outcast or rejected by others? Then consider this. Do you take Jesus at His Word, or do you tend to want 'proof” of His power before trusting Him with difficult situations and choices? Are you prepared to put aside whatever it takes to accomplish God's purposes for your life? Remember, there is nothing you can 'give up” for God that He will not ultimately replace with something greater and more fulfilling.
RESPOND: What was significant about the fact that Jesus touched the man who had leprosy? (See 8:3 note.) Why would Jesus tell the man not to tell anyone what had happened? (See 8:4 note.) What were some of the outstanding aspects of the centurion's faith? (See 8:10 note.) Is God calling you to befriend or demonstrate compassion to someone whom others avoid or reject? Who might this be, and what will you do about it? Considering how many people wanted to see Jesus and how many others witnessed and experienced His power, why did they find it difficult to truly follow Him? What is it 'costing” you to follow Jesus?
PRAY: Pray for someone you know who needs physical healing. If you have opportunity, don't hesitate to tell the person that you are praying for them. Ask God to help you trust Him in greater ways. Ask Him to fill you with His active compassion for those who need a touch from God.
ACT: Reach out and befriend someone who seems socially isolated and left alone by others. Allow God to push you out of your comfort zone in regard to the people you typically associate with and the ways you would ordinarily trust God to use you. If you know someone who needs physical healing, let them know that you will pray for them, asking God to do something that only He can do.
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