by Heather Bock
Read to the end to find another giveaway I have for a refreshing book about prayer using encounters with Jesus.
A man with no use of his legs slumped in his usual dusty spot against the gate, his eyes mindlessly gazing at the feet of passersby. Whenever he saw any approaching, he would start up his same tired refrain, not bothering to shift his eyes, asking for alms, pity, mercy. Two men stopped in front of him, but he still kept his eyes averted.
We keep our eyes down when we’re discouraged. We don’t make eye contact when we’re ashamed. We don’t engage with people when we don’t feel worthy of engagement.
One of the men commanded, “Look at us!” The lame man lifted his eyes.
He expected them to give him something–a silver or even gold coin, perhaps. The men did not toss anything his way, but what one of them said would change his life forever: “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” (Acts 3:6). After the man raised him to his feet, he didn’t just walk; he leapt. He could walk on his own for the first time in his forty years of life, without being carried by those who pitied him. He could make a living for himself without begging. He didn’t have to sit in the dirt staring at filthy feet anymore.
He could look other men in the eyes.
This is what God does. As we raise our eyes to Him, He heals us (Mal. 4:2). He takes away our discouragement, making our eyes shine with the encouragement with which He fills us. He lifts us out of the place where we are stuck, the muck at which we stare (Ps. 40:2). He stands us on our feet and takes our shame; he tells us not to be afraid to look Him in the eye (Heb. 4:16). He reminds us of the worth with which we were endowed when He lovingly made us in His image.
You can imagine that this healed man could not stay silent. He made quite a stir praising God. He clung to the men who had healed him, thanking them, men who he found out were named Peter and John. In fact, everyone around noticed him. They were amazed to see this man walking without even a trace of a limp, a man they recognized well from having passed by his place at the gate for years. The words of worship were catching–all the people around began to join in the praise of God, but their eyes kept turning to the two men who had been the instruments of this healing.
Peter knew what it was like to not be able to meet someone’s eye. He remembered all too well the shame that came with his three denials of Jesus after having sworn he would not fear even death for his Lord. He also remembered Jesus gently looking into his eyes and allowing him to redeem each of those denials later on a beach with three times words of love.
Peter also knew real power did not stem from him or John. Quickly, he used all the stares and questions as an opportunity to share the source of this healing: Jesus Christ. “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?…it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all” (Acts 3:12, 16).
He directed the people’s eyes to Jesus, the only One who can fully take discouragement, pain, and shame, and in their place make encouragement, restoration, and dignity.
“But You, O LORD, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.”
Talking to Jesus Book Giveaway
Last Saturday, I reviewed Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer by Jeannie Blackmer. If you’d like to see my review, you can read it here. This excellent book retells many stories about Jesus from the book of Matthew–it’s a good way to turn your eyes to Him.
If you’d like to enter in my drawing:
- Click the button “follow” in the place under my picture (top right of a computer and way down below the comments on a phone) where it says, “Follow Blog Via Email.” Once you hit the button, it should give you a place to type in your email address. You may have to follow up with an email sent to you to fully subscribe, so check your spam folder if it doesn’t arrive in your inbox.
- Please notify me in a comment of your name so I will know who to congratulate if you win!
To earn more entries, or if you’re already following my blog,
- Share this post via social media. Each share to a different social media venue earns you one entry (up to three).
- Let me know in a comment where you’ve shared.
- Notify me of your name.
Giveaways are open to residents of the continental U.S. and Canada and are only open to those who have not won from me in the last year.
I will announce the winner on Wednesday, December 13, so look for it! If I don’t hear from the winner within a week, I will draw another name. Thank you!
DISCLOSURE (IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FTC’S 16 CFR, PART 255: “GUIDES CONCERNING THE USE OF ENDORSEMENTS AND TESTIMONIALS IN ADVERTISING”): MANY THANKS TO BLOGABOUT FOR GIVING ME TWO COPIES OF TALKING TO JESUS IN EXCHANGE FOR MY HONEST OPINION.
Backpack Bible Winner
Those of you who entered the drawing for the NIV Faithgirlz Backpack Bible last week, are you ready to find out the winner? Thank you to all those who entered my giveaway. The winner is Jess Bender! Congratulations! Please contact me at email@example.com by December 13 with an address, and I will send you the Bible as soon as possible. If I do not hear from you by then, I will have to redo the drawing. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to BlogAbout for providing two free copies of the NIV Backpack Bible (already given) in exchange for my honest review.