Saturday, March 29, 2014

Book 2 - Day 14 Tabitha (Dorcas)

Death comes to us all.  I think the sting of death, the finality of a passing loved one or someone we loved in the community is painful and full of heart ache.  Our finite minds grapple with irrevocability of death and ask the questions, “Where are they? What did they experience? What are they seeing?” All these questions may penetrate our hearts, but in the wake of a passing, Christians should be at peace.
Dorcas is the only woman to be called a disciple of Christ. She is described as a godly woman who did good and helped the poor.  “About that time, she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, ‘Please come at once!’
Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.” (Acts 9:36-39).
Tabitha was a great woman in her community.  The heart she had for widows and the poor was indispensable.  Her making of clothes and providing for the widows and poor reminds me of the Proverbs 31 woman, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy” (Proverbs 31:20). Dorcas’ generous spirit, her love for those who need help, the clothing and supplies she prepared with caring hands is instantaneously gone. 
Some may say the mourners were distressing because of the things they had lost.  On the contrary, when you have experienced unconditional love, it is not the “stuff” you miss, but the relationship and contact with the person who poured the love out to you. This love is rare and once found, we are to hold tight to the beauty of it. Our Father’s love is unconditional and merciful; the forgiveness he bestows on his children is amazing for I shudder to think of all the wrong I have committed, but he freely forgives and continuously loves.
A miracle is about to be performed.  Actually miracles are performing right before our very eyes, yet we tend to take these for granted daily.  The sunrise every morning, the Earth suspended in space, gravity holding all things together, the seasons changing, the birth of a child and the gentleness of a forgiving love are all examples of daily miracles.  Sadly, these amazing phenomenons do not seem so amazing once witnessed daily.  We continually want “signs”.
“This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but non will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.” (Luke 11:29-30). Interestingly enough, this “sign” is what some believe to be an allegory.  Many people believe Jonah was never in the whale, just a tale past on from centuries ago.  My response, then Jesus is not a very good Messiah if the sign he gives is an “allegory Jonah” in the whale.  This is all about faith.  “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we not see.” (Hebrews 11:1).
Dorcas had faith! Peter had faith! “Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed.  Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.  He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet.  Then he called the believers and the widows and presenter her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. (Acts 9:40-43).
What is amazing about this is in Luke 8:54, Christ raises a dead girl to live saying, “Talitha Kumi, my child, get up!” What is interesting is Tabitha and Talitha are just one letter off from each other, plus Peter was in the room with this little girl and our Lord.  Maybe remembering this, he prayed and asked the Lord for Dorcas to get up. 
The Scriptures are silent as to how long this godly woman lived after this miracle, but I can assure you, she was generously giving of her time and services, spreading the Gospel and praising the Lord in Joppa.  I am sure many nights were spent in reliving God’s power over food and fellowship.  This small town was given a testimony, a walking, living, breathing, giving, beautiful testimony!

Let us pray and CONFESS the Word of the Living God;

            I desire to be a woman of faith.  A woman recognized for her Christ-like behavior, good deeds, knowledge of Scripture and heart open to those in need.  I desire to be called a disciple as your servant Tabitha (Acts 9:36).  With a heart to serve the poor, always doing good as our Lord Jesus of Nazareth did (Acts 10:38), I want you to shine, not me. 
            Help me be a woman of belief in healing and the power of the Resurrected Lord.  I know Jesus of Nazareth healed the little girl saying, “Talitha Kumi” or little girl, get up as Peter said, “Tabitha, get up.” (Acts 9:40, Luke 8:54) I want the Holy Spirit to use me in such a way, but also to be healed from _______________.  The Bible says to not be wise in my eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil for this will bring health to the body and strength, nourishment to my bones (Proverbs 3:7-8).  I know your Words are precious and we are to keep them within our hearts for they are life to those who find them and health to a woman’s whole body (Proverbs 4:21-22). 
            I desire faith to move mountains, to believe in something I can not see, but the hope and certainty it is there (Hebrews 11:1).  Move me in such a way to receive healing, whether through prayer, the laying on of hands or fasting for answers (James 5:14-15).  Your will be done in my life, not mine and I will be gracious for I have been given for Christ told the Apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 
            Thank you Lord for you mercy, your death on the Cross where I have salvation, love, and hope.  I praise you Lord for your goodness.  I praise you Lord for your power to do all things in which glorify you and will give me the strength to continue in my commission (Philippians 4:13).  In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I pray, Amen.

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