MYSTERY WOMAN 4-24 – We only THOUGHT we knew

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Even though Mack and I (and even Minus) have now come to a consensus regarding the formula for pure faith, Minus has asked that we include the following in our file.

Somewhere amid our lively banter, I recalled having seen a folder in our cold case box labeled “Hall of Faith.” I retrieved this file and spread it out on the desk for all to see. Listed there (Hebrews 11) were Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Jacob, Isaac, Daniel, Samson, and several others. Many of the works/actions performed by these Giants of Faith are documented for us, while others are not, but are easily found elsewhere. As we scanned this list, we were surprised to find that NONE (as in NOT ONE) of the actions completing the epic faith listed, was works of the Law! Not one!

For Noah, it was building the ark. Abraham is listed twice, once for leaving Ur without knowing where he was going, and the second time for walking up Mount Moriah with the intent of sacrificing his “only son whom he loved.” Joseph’s action was the instructions he gave on his deathbed that his bones be taken out of Egypt whenever the exodus would one day occur. We talked about that one quite a bit. Joseph was the fourth generation from the promise. We marveled at his faith. If we had seen our father, grandfather, and great grandfather go to their graves without seeing the promise come to fruition, would we still believe? Would some of our last words consist of instructions of what to do when the promise did materialize? We wondered if we had ever experienced that kind of faith.

So, you see, all of the actions/works listed in the Hall of Faith exhibit, are comparable to our getting into that storm shelter or reporting the neighbor analogies. They were actions which bore witness to something unseen (the deep conviction of truth which permeated both the physical and the spiritual).

The above discussion lead Mack and me to debate whether following the Law of Moses is therefore necessary at all! However, before we could begin to feel smugly justified in not keeping God’s law as part of our faith, we faced the following challenge to our ill-fated theory. It was actually Minus who asked the questions as he stopped by to check on our progress. “Is He God? I mean, REALLY God?” he asked. As he talked, he walked across the office and retrieved the old, worn, leather covered Bible that was part of the cold case file.  Holding it up, he asked  “Is this book really penned or inspired by Him – God Himself? Is He REALLY all knowing? All powerful? Omnipresent? Really? Did He create all that is, was, and will be? Did He stop the sun, send a large fish to transport a rebellious prophet, feed millions with manna, raise the dead? Really?

If so, and if you and I believe that He is Who He says He is, and means what He says He means, why would there be any question as to whether we should follow the teachings and instructions ( in other words – obey) the God of the Universe? Is He unchanging? Does His Word stand forever?”

“Well, of course” I answered. However, that was for Israel and we are not Israel.”

Oh, really? He said. He opened the Bible, and laid it on the desk.

Mat 5:17  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.18  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.19  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

And with that, he turned on his heels, and walked out of our office, leaving us with more to ponder as we continue to investigate.

We are satisfied that we have made somewhat of a breakthrough in this case. We have now isolated what appears to be a formula for the power release we are studying. Here it is:

FAITH + GRACE = POWER (resulting in miracles such as healing and/or redemption)

AND, we have finally agreed upon a definition for faith.

FAITH= conviction of truth, which naturally includes actions compatible with that conviction.

Minus dipped back into our office asking if the actions taken were based upon a decision process. Minus always seems to ask the questions we would have never thought of. “For instance,” he continued, “did Abraham calculate the consequences of leaving Ur with no “plan” or even timeframe? Did he make a list of pros and cons and ask his family and friends to weigh in? Did Noah consider NOT building the ark? Did he decide to wait for confirmation in the form of rain to confirm the words he had heard before acting? Did he perhaps consult The Farmers Almanac before agreeing to follow the Lord’s instructions?”

With that he rose from the old wooden office chair and walked through the doorway, stopping to add one more thing before heading back to his office. “Next report on my desk by 8:00 a.m.” And with that, he was gone.

After careful consideration of Minus’ questions, it became clear that true conviction makes the decisions for you! Action is the natural outcome of conviction of truth. We decided that this relationship between faith and action might be compared to the reaction one would have when seeing a car barreling in their direction. To jump out of the way or not to jump out of the way is not a question that even needs to be entertained! Jumping out of the path is the natural response to the truth of the situation.

After all, we have already learned that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. The thing unseen is the conviction within the heart and the belief within the mind. Actions reveal both. As James said, faith without works is dead.

Mack placed the Greek dictionary back on the shelf, and started to turn away when he suddenly paused, retrieving it once more and returning to his desk. “Oh no, Pleeeeeze Mack. No more word searches tonight. I’m exhausted! Put the book back where it belongs, let’s file the report, and go home!” But I knew better than that. Mack was on the trail of something and could not be dissuaded. “Well, are you going to just stand there whining, or are you going to help?” he groused as he shoved the Webster’s Dictionary across the desk. “What are we looking for now, Mack?” I asked in a not-so-cheerful tone. “Grace.” he mumbled as he moved the wooden toothpick on which he had been chewing since lunch from one side of his mouth to the other.

I slammed the dictionary shut and stared at him incredulously. “Grace? Really, Mack? Grace? Now this is a waste of time. You and I have known what grace means since we were both in booster band together when we were in kindergarten. Grace is undeserved favor. There. Mystery solved. I’m going home!” “Oh, that’s okay, M.J. You’re right of course. Go on home. After all, we did know what faith meant, now didn’t we???” I had been headed out the door but that stopped me in my tracks. I hate it when Mack is right.

“Okay, okay, Mack,” I said resignedly. “Grace. Okay. I’ll play along. This should just take a minute and we can return the dictionaries to the shelf and go home!” I quickly found the correct entry in the Webster’s English dictionary and shoved it across the desk. No surprise.

(in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

synonyms: favor · good will · generosity · kindness · benefaction · beneficence

I smugly tap the entry, waiting for him to concede the point and call it a night. He glanced at the Webster’s as he continued to search for the correct entry in the Greek Dictionary. “Okay, he says. Just bear with me. Let’s just confirm that the Greek word translated as grace in the New Testament means the same thing.

I paced around the room, stretched, looked at my watch, and waited. Once he had located the correct Greek word, he held his hand up as if to shush me as he concentrated on what he was reading. Staring at the entry for what seemed like five minutes, he at last glanced up from the page with an expression of obvious disbelief. The toothpick dropped from his open mouth as he pushed the book across the desk for me to see and awaited my reaction.

My first thought upon reading the entry was that this must be one of Mack’s not-so-funny jokes. Surely, he must be pulling my leg. As I resumed reading, he reached across the desk again, highlighting the entry as I read.

G5485 χάρις charis khar’-ece

From G5463; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude): – acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (-ious), joy liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, -worthy).

Total KJV occurrences: 156

WHAT! Not in all my years in church, nor in any of the many Sunday School and Bible study groups of which I had ever been a part, had I EVER heard this definition of GRACE! Divine influence upon the heart? Its reflection in the life???? Could this mean that God’s grace to us is demonstrated in the fact that He influences our hearts towards Him and His ways? Is this another way to express His wooing of our hearts and souls? Hmmmm. I know there was something I saw in the evidence box that may be relevant to this discussion. I ran to the box and thumbed through the papers until I found it. It was in the “Hebrew Writings” folder.

Eze 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

Joh 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

Hos 11:4 I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them.

Php 2:13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Wow! Mack and I stood for what seemed like hours staring down at the page, trying to take it all in. Then suddenly, Mack gasped, reached across the desk, and began tapping the bottom of the yellowed page with the end of his pencil. “Why, look at that!” he said.

When working a cold case, each subsequent investigator to work it is to initial any file that he or she reviews. If he is the one who entered the original file, it will be so noted and signed. There had been more than a dozen cold case units from just our precinct who had worked this case over the last 30 or so years. And there at the top of the list, dated some 37 years ago, were the initial E.M. (Edgar Myling, otherwise known as – Minus)! Minus had worked this case when he was just a young rookie in the cold case division! Why hadn’t he said anything?

We were excited! We were exhausted! We definitely needed time to digest all of this information. Surely we were almost ready to begin the part of the investigation we liked most- the reconstruction of the scene! But for now, a hot meal and a soft pillow were definitely in my future. Mack might stay through the night if he so chose, but THIS investigator was pushing for home.

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The next file we encounter is labeled Writings Circulating Within The Jewish Community Have This To Say About Faith.  It contains the following:


Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

This seems rather odd. Substance and evidence? These are not words which describe a feeling, an intellectual assent, or even spiritual conviction! Hmmmm. This seems to agree with our previous observation about the touch. Somehow the touch (something decidedly physical) played a role in the faith (something understood to be spiritual) which resulted in this miracle!

In scanning the interviews of friends and relatives of those involved, we find this well circulated writing by James, the younger brother of Rabbi Yeshua.

Jas 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

“Faith apart from works is useless”? “Faith apart from works is dead”? “Faith was completed by his works”? Well, this certainly throws a whole toolbox of wrenches into what many have grown up believing! And it appears to be more evidence accumulating in favor of a possibility we did not expect! These words of James, place into question the oft-repeated, jealously guarded, and passionately defended teaching sometimes referred to as “grace and only grace”! Most in our era have been carefully taught that we do not need to do anything (and in fact MUST not do anything) to gain our salvation (nor can we). Both Mack and this investigator are from this school of thought. However, with evidence mounting, we are beginning to wonder if there could possibly have been a terrible misunderstanding or misinterpretation! I asked Mack to talk this through with me. I have confidence that if we are on the wrong trail, Minus will chime in as well.

After some not-so-brief discussion, we conclude that it remains true that our mystery lady could not have  simply presented a list of works (of the law or otherwise) to the Rabbi and expected it to purchase her redemption and/or result in her healing. Yet, we must now confess that it appears to be equally true that neither could she have presented a Dorothy-esque faith to Him with an expectation that that would have resulted in redemption either. For “faith apart from works is dead.”  We acknowledge that this is a subject about which many hold strong opinions. Regardless of our personal opinions and long-held beliefs, we must admit into evidence the words of James, brother of Rabbi Yeshua,  (as well as the evidence in this cold case) as recorded in Holy Scripture, a source of unquestioned authority.

Dorothy-esque faith – that faith in which one closes his or her eyes tightly, clicks the heels of ruby red slippers, and recites with much fervor and conviction “I believe; therefore, I am saved,” “I believe; therefore, I am saved,” “I believe; therefore, I am saved.” Click. Click. Click. But IS faith simply perfect, unwavering conviction, or really REALLY believing? Is this the perfect faith He wants us to utilize? Is this the faith utilized by our mystery woman?

Considering the unchallenged statements from Scripture, we would now have to conclude that evidence reveals that this kind of Dorothy-esque faith does not fit the description provided in Hebrews 11:1. The Hebrews 11 faith, we can see, is both substance and evidence, with no mind over matter faith mentioned. Nor does it seem to fit with James’ insistence that faith was active along with works.

Perhaps we can attempt to fetter out a better understanding of this faith/works connection with use of another exercise.

Imagine that you are at home when your community’s storm warning sirens sound. You access the television weather and immediately see news footage of a tornado on the ground right down the road from your house, spinning rapidly in your direction. The skies are ominous and the wind ferocious. You are totally convinced (convicted) that you and your children are in imminent danger. What do you do? Well, if you ARE truly convinced, wouldn’t you/shouldn’t you gather your children and take shelter? If you do not immediately take shelter, one of two possibilities is true. 1) You REALLY were NOT convicted/convinced, with your inaction being the evidence of such, or 2) You had a death wish and a shameful disregard for the safety of your children! Again, your lack of action (works) is the proof of what is unseen (your true conviction/beliefs.)

Likewise, if you unwaveringly believe, due to things you have both seen and heard from your next door neighbor, that your neighbor is about to harm a child, wouldn’t you/shouldn’t you act? If you do not, is it evidence that you really do not believe? Otherwise, wouldn’t your inaction be proof that you yourself are an evil person, having known and not acted?

As we sat at our desks contemplating the implications of such a shift in our thinking, Mack was lost in thought with feet propped on desk.  Aaargh! And then it began!  Mack has this excruciatingly irritating habit which surfaces when he is concentrating on a case. He drinks a bottle of water and then proceeds to crush the empty bottle in his hand time and again, producing the terribly irritating sound of plastic cracking and crunching.  To add to the irritation factor, he repeatedly bounces the bottle cap off of the bulletin board to the right of his desk. After years of trying to persuade him to curtail this habit, I have at last conceded that it is a lost cause.  It seems to do something to help him connect his thoughts. And often, the result is a new idea or new approach. It is a sign (or is it a symptom), that he is trying to work something through his mind. That’s how it happened today.  When I thought I could stand the crunching no more, he suddenly stopped, sat bolt upright, and stared at the bottle in his hand.

He jumped out of his chair, grabbed a marker, and began writing hurriedly on the dry erase board – H2O. “H2O,” he said.   “It’s what James meant! The formula, H2O,  indicates that water is comprised of 2 parts hydrogen and one-part oxygen. If the hydrogen atoms were to be removed from water, the result would not then simply be hydrogenless water. Indeed, there is no such thing. Without both atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, water would cease to exist at all!  Altering the formula has destroyed the product!  The same would be true if the oxygen atom were to be removed, or if another atom were to be introduced into the formula.  Again, water would cease to exist. For it is the COMBINATION of 2 atoms of Hydrogen and 1 atom of Oxygen that, together results in water! Altering the formula in any way deprives us of the slightest possibility of a yield of this life sustaining element.  The altering of chemical formulas, whether by removal of an atom designed to be present, or addition of one that is not, may also result in harmful, or even deadly consequences! It would appear that the altering of spiritual formulas would also lead to disaster!”

He replaced the cap on the marker and stepped back to look at me. It was a brilliant analogy, well worth the bottle crunching and cap tossing. It is a perfect picture of faith. Perhaps the spiritual formula for faith could be stated this way. BC2W . Two parts of belief/conviction  (BC2) and one part of works (W) comprise FAITH. If belief/conviction is removed, faith has been destroyed.  If works are vanquished from the formula, the result is the same; faith no longer exists.  For it is the BLEND of belief/conviction AND works that, when combined, results in FAITH.  BC2W = Faith. Consequently,  grace combined with belief/conviction alone would not result in redemption.  Grace combined with works only would not produce redemption either. Truly, the tainting of the formula in the grace and only grace alteration has produced a debilitating and potentially lethal solution. It may taste sweet, but then so does antifreeze!

Conversely, BC2W (belief/conviction and works – otherwise known as  pure, unadulterated faith) will culminate in miraculous redemption and phenomenal miracles!


Report filed by CCF Investigators MJ and Mack                                          April 23rd


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After walking up three flights of stairs, I find Mack standing with hands in pockets, staring at a note tacked to our office door. Jerking his head in its direction, he mumbles “Minus.”  Minus is the Director of the Cold Case Unit, i.e. our boss. He earned his nickname during his decades as lead cold case unit investigator.  He had become legendary for his ability to crack the coldest of cases; the cases that were said to be so cold that they were MINUS thirty-two degrees.

The note scribbled on yellow legal pad read “MJ and Mack, remember, file SHORT FREQUENT reports.”

It wasn’t the first time Minus had felt compelled to remind us of this, one of his few hard and fast rules. Neither Mack nor I liked writing the reports and often would procrastinate for days or even weeks before filing one. But Minus had a good reason for this requirement. With short, concise reports filed with him daily, he would have the opportunity to help us avoid wasting time on bunny trails and might also catch a clue we had disregarded. In fact, this had indeed been the case more than a few times.

So, it was with this in mind that we poured a cup of coffee and began by reviewing our notes.


*The mystery woman, it appears, is PURPOSELY left unnamed and will remain so as that information does not appear in any available records.

*Her flow of blood made her unclean and untouchable, even by family. It was a constant source of pain, shame, loneliness and hopelessness.

*She had desperately tried to purchase her rescue from numerous physicians for many years.  They had taken all of her money and left her worse and not better. She now comes penniless to this rabbi.

We still have the following questions under investigation

*What did she know about this rabbi that made her think he could help?

*She touched His robe and the result was a healing power exchange. Why? How?

*He is reported to have said that it was her faith that healed her. And yet it appears to have been her touch that caused the exchange of power. Therefore, the obvious question would be –  how was this touch related to faith?

*We are given the rather random information that she touched the fringe of his garment.  Is this detail indeed random?

*Another seemingly random detail found buried within the case file is regarding the length of her illness, recorded to have been twelve years.  In our business, when a seemingly insignificant and “unnecessary” tidbit of information is supplied by witnesses during an investigation without prompting, we consider it important.  Is this number a code?  Why did the witnesses share this information?

Mack and I both agree that this is only a partial list, but in order to file the short, daily report Minus demands, we must begin somewhere. So, we will begin by tackling the question of faith.

As many of the files in our evidence box are penned in Greek, we look first to that language. Blowing the dust off the Greek dictionary which has sat on the CCF (cold case file) bookshelf for possibly centuries, we find the Greek word translated into English as faith.

πίστις pistis pis’-tis
From G3982; persuasion, conviction of the truth of anything, belief;
Total KJV occurrences: 244

We note that the Greek root word from which pistis is derived is pitho.

πείθω peithō pi’-tho
A primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty): – agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) content, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield.
Total KJV occurrences: 55

Mack points out the provocative fact that obey, and yield appear within the definition! This may prove to be an important factor as we try to dissect her faith! How was she persuaded or convicted of truth, and where do we see the evidence that she obeyed/yielded?

In the Old Testament (Tanakh), the corresponding Hebrew word is emunah and is defined in much the same manner. We will document this in our cold case notebook.

In any well executed investigation, whether new or cold, it is essential to consider the witness statements. Although the statements were collected long ago, they will still play a vital role in solving this cold case. As we rifle through the yellowed papers, we find these notes.

WITNESS STATEMENT # 1 – Luke indicates that 1) The Woman with an issue of blood came from behind (or “after”). This would seem to indicate that she may have been following the rabbi. 2) She touched the border of his garment; 3) She was immediately healed.
WITNESS STATEMENT #2 -Rabbi Yeshua states that 1) He felt power (or virtue) leave him when he was touched. 2) He confirmed that it was her faith that made her well. 3) He required nothing more from her but instructed her to go in peace.
WITNESS STATEMENT #3 – The woman herself came forward, confessing that 1) It was she who touched his garment, 2) She explained why she had done so (although we were unable to locate a statement revealing this information) 3) That she was immediately healed.

*There were other witness statements located regarding the days preceding our incident, the days following our incident, and concerning the community itself. We will document these statements in a subsequent report.

Review of the above witness statements reveals that all three testified that it was the touch that resulted in a power surge which lead to the subject’s immediate healing. While touch is something physical, it is noted that the Rabbi insisted that it was the woman’s faith that made her well. This would seem to be a contradiction, according to the modern understanding of the word faith, which is most often described as a solely spiritual endeavor. And yet, the information we have collected from the witness statements (most notably the rabbi Himself), confirms that this physical touch was undeniably a part of that faith process. As a matter of fact, it seems to have been the “seal” or the completing factor, as it was only with this touch that He recognized power being pulled from him. Hmmmm.

Might it be possible that during the timeframe in which this incident occurred, faith was understood differently? This warrants further investigation. After talking it through, Mack and I have come to the following conclusion.

If faith were simply a feeling, an inward conviction, something occurring solely on the spiritual level, then it would follow that no touch would have been necessary to release power. And yet, it is reported by multiple witnesses to have done just that. What kind of faith did our mystery woman possess which was so potent that it resulted in a power surge and complete healing??? Surely, we must know if we are ever to solve this mystery and ascertain if this kind of power is still accessible!

Filed by Cold Case Investigators MJ and Mack                      April 22nd


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In Mystery Woman Cold Case File – Whodunit Pt 1, we began our investigation of the cold case of an unnamed woman spoken of in Luke 8. We compiled a list of questions and began following a string of clues in hopes of finding answers. Specifically, our desire was to discover not only who this mystery woman was, but why she had sought out this particular rabbi. We also wanted to discover what she had hoped to gain, and what she ultimately did, that resulted in the miracle of power flowing from him into her. 

 In Mystery Woman  Cold Case Pt 2 – Who Shall Remain Nameless, we played private investigators as we “followed” her

throughout her daily routine for a few days. We peered into her life through the case file to see if we could discern what she was hiding.  We came away with the surprising revelation that we had been shadowing ourselves.  As we witnessed her pre-healing state of uncleanness, shame, sickness, sadness, and hopelessness, we recognized our own life stories embedded within hers. We began to comprehend just how spiritually unclean, hopeless, helpless, shamed, shunned, and lifeless we had been before we, too, met the Rabbi from Nazareth. From this point on, the investigation became quite personal for the investigators. We not only wanted to uncover the next steps of the mystery woman’s story, but hoped to unmask the next steps in our personal journeys as well. Would more parallels be uncovered? 

 And now, we turn our attention to the remaining clues surrounding the day of her miraculous healing.  What caused her to think that the rabbi could heal her?  Why did she not appeal to Him directly and make herself known?  Why did she touch the fringe attached to his cloak?  How was this seemingly simple touch different than that of the many men pressing in from all sides? The rabbi said her faith had made her well. What kind of faith makes one well? Was it simply a confidence that He was able? Or was there something more? 


 Before we resume our investigation of the particular facts of this cold case mystery, we will scan the scientific data regarding blood loss. Perhaps this may help us understand more precisely what she/we were dealing with.  

 Within the extensive case file, we find notes from another cold case investigator who had worked the case many years previous. Because a rabbi was involved, he had scanned the Hebrew scriptures for any mention of blood.   His notes document that blood  was found to have been mentioned hundreds of times in Scripture. Of great significance to understanding our story, many passages declare  that “life is in the blood.”  (Gen/Bereshiyt 9:4, Lev/Viyikra 17:11, Deut/Devarim 12:23). This is a strange statement which will require further investigation.  Many other verses provide guidance on how to properly deal with exposure to blood,  normal and abnormal bleeding, and even how to dispose of blood.  And, of course, blood is central to the sacrificial system set up by the Most High. All because, as stated above, life is IN the blood.  Note that life is NOT the blood, but is contained within it. What is this life that we find bathed or concealed within blood? In a file marked LIFE/BLOOD, we find these quotes from Holy Writ. 

Deu 32:46  he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law47  For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.” 


Joh 6:63  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  

Lev 17:11  For the life of the flesh is in the blood

 Well, there it is!  Examining the above sampling collected  from the case files under a microscope, reveals that it is the Word being carried along by the “blood” that results in Life! We will come back to this as we continue our investigative report. 

We see that long before the advent of microscopes or sophisticated tests or procedures, the Bible declared life to be “in the blood.” And, as is often the case, science eventually caught up with Holy Writ. The scientific fact that life is indeed in the blood has long since been soundly proven.  This is no longer any mystery, nor is it now a surprise. What remains both surprising and exciting, is to note the parallels between what the Bible says about blood, and what science now knows. Indeed, the parallels are so remarkable that it would suggest that the Creator determined to connect the two even BEFORE He created blood or inspired Scripture!!!!   In fact,  we now assert that the amazing parallels we unearthed during our investigation are too precise to have been conjured up AFTER the design phase.  Take a look at the notes we have compiled and see if you agree. 

The scientific data show

Without blood, no nourishment would arrive at any cell in our bodies, resulting in cell breakdown/starvation, leading to deathWithout blood, no toxins would be transported away from the cells, resulting in extreme toxicity and causing, you guessed it – death. Without blood, no oxygen would be delivered to the brain or any other vital organ and the outcome would be forfeiture of lifeWithout blood, no antibodies would be available to combat infection and disease and even a minor bacterial attack would run rampant without hopes of survival. And, without blood there would be no sperm, no egg, no placenta,  no blood flow to the baby, and therefore no possibility of producing offspring and the human race could not exist. 

Interestingly, the investigator’s notes indicate that blood is the only tissue that is not fixed in one system.  It flows to and from, and touches each and every cell in the human body. Although it might be possible to survive with one kidney, one lung, damaged heart, damaged brain, no eyes, no ears, absent limbs, etc., you cannot exist without blood.  In conclusion, without blood, there would be no YOU.  The Scripture has again been confirmed to be absolutely and literally true and trustworthy. Life is in the blood.  

 It is even more astounding to note that all of the characteristics of physical blood which flows throughout Creation, perfectly align with the characteristics of spiritual blood which flows throughout the Word of God, and indeed by which the Word of God is transported.  

 OXYGEN —  Just as physical blood delivers life sustaining oxygen, so spiritual blood carries along the Word, transporting life sustaining spiritual oxygen. The Hebrew word for air, breath, and wind, is  ruach. This same Hebrew word is also translated into English as spirit, as in the Holy Spirit ( Ruach Hakodesh).  Therefore, spiritually, the blood/Word delivers, (makes available) the Holy Spirit.

FOOD – As physical blood contains physical nourishment, so spiritual blood contains the Word of God.  Scripture informs us that we must consume the Word of God, taking it deep within our beings for digestion and delivery to every cell. The Word of God is described as honey, manna, milk and meat and produces fruit. Therefore, the spiritual blood/Word delivers spiritual nourishment.

CLEANSING —  While physical blood continuously protects our lives by transporting deadly toxins away, so spiritual  Wordcontaining blood with its Ruach cleanses – transporting toxins (sins) away, preventing them from causing permanent and deadly damage.  This brings to mind an old gospel hymn – Have you been washed in the blood –  in the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb. 

HEALING —  While physical blood saves our lives daily with its perpetual flow of antibodies, so it is in the spiritual.   Within our spiritual blood flows miraculous life defending antibodies – prepared to launch a fierce battle against any enemy invader.  These troops are mustered the instant the alarm sounds.  This alarm is in response to conviction. When sin (toxin) enters, the first alarm to sound is conviction. If this alarm is acknowledged, the call goes out for defensive troops which arrive armed to the hilt and ready to wage war. Again – it’s like He knew!  Mi kamocha, b’elim Adonai (Who is like Thee, O Lord among the gods! – Exo 15:11) 

One more Scripture from the file seems appropriate here. This one has been labeled simply “The Word.”

Joh 1:14  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth 

Could this Word made Flesh be the same Word which is contained in our spiritual bloodstream and is responsible for our spiritual cleansing, nourishment, defense, and removal of our spiritual toxins (sins)?  Hmmmm 

After reading the above case file with regards to blood,  we now better understand that the woman with the flow of blood for 12 years was in a constant state of losing her life. She truly was desperate! And desperation often is the catalyst which causes us to truly seek a solution.  With her life force at all times ebbing away, the evidence seems to indicate that The Rabbi from Nazareth was the solution to which she was drawn. What caused her to believe this?   Her path to this conclusion remains to be discovered.  

 As our investigation continues, we are again reminded of the striking parallels between her journey and ours. We, too, were once in just such a perilous spiritual condition.  We, too, were constantly in a state of active spiritual dying. With our blood count dangerously low, we were desperate for a solution that could only be found through  a connection with our Messiah! How might we reconnect with Him  now?   Are we, even now, desperate for a power surge that will jumpstart our relationship with Him and provide the spiritual transfusion we so desperately need?  Have we been feeling spiritually toxic of late?  Are we spiritually lightheaded, unable to think, short of breath, and sick?  Then it is imperative that we stave the flow of blood leaving  the body  and encourage its flow within the body!  Through our investigation thus far, we have confirmed that our mystery woman could only accomplish this through faith in the Rabbi from Nazareth. Perhaps as we continue to follow the clues, we will also be lead to the solution in our own lives. 

A cold case of  this magnitude will require us to employ many  investigative tools.  We will again scour the witness statements.  We will do our best to reconstruct the day of her healing in an attempt to  “see” what she saw and “hear” what she heard.  Our goal  – to the best of our ability, will be to determine what caused our unnamed mystery woman to place her faith in this particular rabbi, and why she behaved in such a peculiar way.  

Once our next report (Mystery Woman Cold Case File #4 – Undeserved) has been compiled we will notify you of its availability. We have also noticed a file marked “Fringe Benefits” and we will be digging into this file in the future as well.  Until then, keep your eyes open for any additional clues and you can always contact us at the station if you have any additional information that may aid in the solving of this cold case. 


Rookie Investigator


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Perhaps you remember Tevia singing “To Life!  To Life! L’Chaim! L’Chaim, L’Chaim, To Life! from Fiddler On The Roof.

Indeed Chai is the Hebrew word for life!  Due to working on the Kingdom Math series mentioned in the previous post, I have been thinking a lot about this journey called life.  We hold onto God’s promises, but perhaps never consider that many may not be completed in our lifetimes.  In fact, as part of the Kingdom Math study, I have read through Hebrews chapter 11 several times over the last several weeks.  Many of the people of great faith listed in this Hall of Faith chapter did not live to see God’s promises to them fulfilled. And yet, that fact did not seem to shake their faith. It becomes apparent that their faith was not based upon their seeing the result! They evidently did not require “proof.”

In fact, we find this statement in Heb 11:13

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Heb 11:13
They did far better than simply believing in God (which even the demons do).  They BELIEVED God!
And this next verse has become one of my favorites in this passage because of the backstory.
By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
You see, Joseph was the son of Jacob, who was the son of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham.  So, Joseph’s great grandfather, Abraham, had received a promise from God (mannnnnny moons previous). The promise stated that God would make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the stars of the heavens or the sands on the seashore, so that they could not be numbered.   God also told Abraham that these descendants would be taken into captivity for 400 years but would then emerge and would be drawn back together as a nation. Alas, I am convinced that if God had told me that He would give me children who would go into captivity, I would have said ‘no thank you, Sir!  No descendants for me then, if you please’.
But not Abraham.  Abraham was looking to a kingdom not of this earth.  He knew that anything his children suffered would fade into nothingness in the face of eternity.  He knew the character of God and that God does nothing without great purpose. He had complete confidence that He would continue to do all things well. Wow!  That’s the kind of faith I would like!
So, when Joseph was on his deathbed, his father Jacob and grandfather Isaac, as well as his great-grandfather, Abraham, were long in their graves. They had died without seeing the fulfillment of the promise.  I don’t know about you, but I fear that if I were Joseph, the fourth generation from the promise,  I would have given up on the dream by now.  On my death bed, I don’t think I would be encouraging my family to keep up the charade!
And yet, the 70 descendants of Abraham (not exactly “too numerous to count”) who had come down to  Egypt to escape the famine,  would one day  march out of Egypt behind Moses as a nation of millions!  Joseph was so confident that this event was chiseled in stone, that he told those around his deathbed that when the exodus DID occur, they should take his bones with them. I think that is amazing!  He was so convinced, that he wanted to make certain that his final wishes in this regard would be quite literally “carried out.”
Faith of this sort is so foreign to us.  In this microwave world in which we live, we expect (and indeed demand)  immediate (or sooner) gratification.   If we do not receive it, we become frustrated and move on to something that promises quicker results.  Above all else, we want to avoid any struggle, effort, or inconvenience.  And because this type of avoidance has been our goal, we have also inadvertently  undermined the very purpose for our protracted journey in the first place!  We avoided the struggle that would have made us stronger. We sidestepped the challenges that would have purified us. We skipped altogether the time plus adversity that would have given us the opportunity to question our faith and our God. And any honest and genuine faith struggle would have eventually lead us to the Truth. And the Truth is designed to set us free! The end result would have been a faith based solely upon the nature and character of God and not upon what our eyes see or our ears hear, or upon any situation in which we might find ourselves Ahhhh, now THAT’S L’Chayim b’emet (to life, for real) !
The journey is long, but well worth it.  The struggle is real, and builds spiritual strength.  The pain is unquestionable, but the end result is strength, endurance, assurance, steadfastness,  pure FAITH, and freedom!
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Samuel, Daniel, Samson, and many others went through trials far more difficult than you or I have ever faced or will  ever face. And yet, it seems that they had a deep understanding of something that we often seem to miss.  Because the promise doesn’t come to fruition during our lifetimes, does not mean that it will not come to fruition!  Fortunately, the old adage “when it’s over, it’s over” does not hold true for the believer!   Sometimes, like the ancients mentioned in the Hebrews Hall of Faith, we see the promises from afar off.
 And now, as evidence of the fidelity of God’s promise to Abraham, here we are some 3500 years after the exodus, and Israel still exists. This, in itself, is a miracle  when you consider how many nations have stated their intent to push Israel into the sea. Perhaps these nations should first read the book of Exodus. Pushing Israel into the sea results in dry land for Israel, and a watery grave for their enemies.
Later this week, we will celebrate another Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Throughout Israel, sirens will sound, traffic will come to a standstill and people will exit their cars, standing in silence. Ceremonies will be held, old and young alike will sing songs, and prayers of thanksgiving will be offered up – all commemorating the People of Promise.
Yes, our journey, like theirs, is long but fruitful.  By design, events do not unfold in an instant in order to allow us the time to struggle through doubts and fears and emerge with a more authentic faith.
I pray that my faith will begin to look more and more like that of Joseph.  May I be so confident in the character of my God that I, too, would leave instructions for what to do WHEN the promise DOES come to pass.
Below, I am sharing a link which touched my heart.  As you watch hundreds of  holocaust survivors and their descendants singing I Am Alive, you will be witnessing something Joseph never did, nor did he need to; the proof. Proof of the fulfillment of an ancient promise!  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph did not see it this  side of eternity. But you are about to! Amazing! It causes me to cry out….
Mi kamocha B’alim Adonai (Who is like You, O Lord among the gods!
Am Yisrael Chai! (The people of Israel LIVE!)

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This is just a short check-in. So sorry I have been delayed in posting the rest of Mystery Woman Cold Case File.  In fact, I had posted part 3 and took it down for revision.  I am still learning as I go along through this cold case investigation.  I believe my Boss with a capitol BOSS (the Lead Investigator) is showing me a better way to communicate what He is teaching me through this series.

He is simultaneously allowing me to put together,  under His direction, an 8 week study tentatively titled Kingdom Math with Professor Peter.  He is teaching me so much about a special formula Peter has provided for you and for me.  And, as is often the case, it has been there in plain sight from the beginning.  Currently, several special friends have agreed to go through this study with me and provide their  invaluable input.  We are just beginning week four. I am so grateful for their investment in me.

There are times that I wonder if this site fulfills His purpose. I am finding that it is sometimes challenging to communicate in this manner. I am far more comfortable speaking in person, where I receive immediate feedback through the faces in the audience.  I instantly know if something needs to be explained better or if I said something goofy, and I am able to make adjustments in real time.  And, likewise,  at times that He has caused me to utter something I myself did not expect, and it has hit the mark, wow! At those times my heart soars because I can see in the eyes of some in the audience that something has clicked and His name has indeed been magnified. And it has done the same for me!  After all, I heard it for the first time at the same time they did!  Ahhh, now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ bout!

So, without this avenue of immediate feedback, I do appreciate any that I receive through this site,  whether positive, constructive criticism, or even a ‘WHAT were ya THINKin!!’. (Well, except for the spammers who evidently get to the site by searching for “bassinet.”)   I am absolutely serious about that. If you see something on this site that you believe is in error or is not written in a way that is easy to follow, please, please let me know, and allow me the opportunity to make any needed corrections.  I certainly do not want to dishonor the Great I Am  with anything on this site!

And if you do happen to be following the Cold Case series, please continue to be patient.  I am also grateful to still be employed full time plus, so the next issue will be forthcoming, when my Master provides the words and the time.

Until then,


Jacquetta (a totally imperfect servant of the Most High)

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In order to follow  the trail of clues in our attempt to solve this mystery, it will be necessary to embark upon an investigative journey.

As you may recall from the Scripture passage cited in Mystery Woman Part 1, (Luke 8:43-48), this unnamed mystery woman had an “issue of blood.” And it was evidently vital that we be provided this very private information. Why do you suppose that would be so?  Would it not have been sufficient for the Scripture account to record that this woman “had a debilitating illness from which she had suffered for many years”?  In order to grasp the importance of the particular information we ARE given, perhaps we should get to know our subject.  It is altogether possible that a peek into her pre-healing life might provide information that would allow us to assemble the jigsaw puzzle of these seemingly random details.  Perhaps an ah-hah moment is in our future; an ah ha moment that will help us solve this very strange mystery.

With this goal in mind, come along with me, if you will. We will play the role of private investigators as we travel the dusty roads of Judea, following from a distance, as she goes about her daily routine.  We will imagine what her life might have been like. We will be watching for anything that could help us comprehend why this unnamed woman and her issue of blood was important enough to be memorialized in Holy Writ.  Shhhh.  Quietly please.  We want to observe every detail of what she does and what she says. We will also want to take note of what she does NOT do or say.  Remember, some clues are clues because of what is NOT present in the story.  Let’s begin without further delay.

It is very early in the morning, and just beyond the city well where we have stationed ourselves, the very beginnings of a beautiful pink sunrise can be seen peeking over the horizon. It is not time for the women to gather to collect water for the day, yet our mystery woman is already en route. There, in the distance, you can barely see the small clouds of dust rising as she takes each step. She is making her way down the dusty road in the pre-dawn hours,  a large clay vessel on her head. Surely, she would rather come with the other women.  And yet, she knows she cannot.

After drawing water and filling the jar, she returns home briefly, depositing it inside the door. When she again emerges, she has donned a cloak with hood pulled forward almost completely concealing her hair and face. With basket in hand,  and sun quickly climbing in the sky,  she makes her way to the town square and the marketplace. Do you see her there?  She seems to be purposely hanging back  from the gathering crowd. Odd.  It appears that she is going out of her way to not make eye contact with the other ladies in the square. She keeps her head down and eyes averted.  What is she  hiding?

Do you notice that she does not approach a vendor while others are present?  She hangs back and waits until the vegetable vendor table is devoid of customers, quickly fills her basket, completes her purchase, and  hurries back towards home. As she passes a group of young ladies gathered to chat,  children playing at their feet, she glances longingly in their direction. It appears that she yearns to join them. And yet, she does not. Of note, they also do not approach her, nor do they invite her to join them. 

As we continue to shadow her, we record in our notebooks that even when at home, she behaves oddly. Although generally alone, on the rare occasion that she does indeed join the family for meals,  she always brings a cushion, her own plate and eating utensils. She sits at a separate table. We can see that there is conversation, but absolutely zero physical contact between our subject and the others present. This is in stark contrast to the camaraderie displayed between the other members of the family.   Why, oh why?  We seem to be netting more questions than answers!   This is very odd behavior.  

From our observation, there does not appear to be a husband. No little children are in her care. No one hugs her or strokes her hair.  In fact, the only time she comes in direct contact with  others is as she travels from physician to physician. And now, with her money quickly dwindling, she will soon not even be able to do that.

We often observe her gazing outside as her nieces and nephews play, tears streaming down her cheeks . Frequently she is seen watching as the women in her household and community leave for the Temple, taking their offerings after they have been cleansed from their monthly impurity. It is a time of celebration. And, yet, for her, there is no need to obtain the birds for an offering.  No trip needs to be planned. Alas, for our mystery woman, no celebration ever comes.

It soon becomes apparent that she goes out of her way to avoid contact with others in her community as well.  And it is not difficult to ascertain the reason for this behavior. She purposely avoids situations that would allow her the contact she so desperately desires and indeed needs, because she simply can no longer endure the agony, the shame, and the rejection she feels when others recognize her and move to the other side of the road, or turn from her in disgust.  As we have shadowed her, we ourselves have witnessed this conduct on several occasions. Her life is filled with loneliness, shame, and, it would appear,  even self-loathing.  Surely a life like this is no life at all.

And now, after having surveilled this woman for a few days, we have come away with more questions than answers. All that we truly know is that whatever ailment she suffers from; whatever she is hiding, keeps her from truly living her life. Whatever it is, has sentenced her to a miserable existence.

Returning now to the day our Scripture records, we will again attempt to remain undetected as we observe.

Can you see her there? No, not over there. There! I realize that it is difficult to locate her, but don’t give up. She has slipped in amongst the crowd of mostly men surrounding the rabbi. Oh, I know you can’t see the rabbi because he is surrounded on all sides. But, trust me, he is the reason the crowd has formed.  It is indeed difficult to keep your eyes on her within this ever pushing, continually jostling mob. But it is not impossible. You can see that she is determined to hold her ground. The throng presses in, pushing, shoving, almost knocking her to the ground as they seek to gain a  position that will allow them to both hear and see. Albeit an uncomfortable situation, still she is grateful for the crowd. Without the crowd, she would have never been able to get this close to him. Without the anonymity that the crowd provides, she would certainly have been found out already. And THAT would spell disaster for her.

What’s that you say? Who is the rabbi? It is Yeshua/Jesus of Nazareth. Oh, I know…Nazareth, can anything good come out of Nazareth? Well, apparently, the answer is yes. These men have been following Rabbi Yeshua as He travels through the area and report having witnessed many miracles. Many approach Him for healing. All want to hear what He has to say. And yes, she (the mystery woman – the subject of our investigation) has come from her home to find Him as well. She shouldn’t have, you know. What she is doing is really quite dangerous. This is why she keeps her face down and avoids eye contact. This is why she has waited until the crowd surrounds Him and all eyes are on this rabbi to make her move and slip in, desperate to reach Him. All the while, she prays that she will not be discovered. As more men rush up from behind to join this throng, she is jostled and pushed along with them. “Oh, please, please,” she whispers under her breath, “Conceal me from their sight.”

Even though fear continually rises in her throat, her desperation and determination is greater than her fear. She MUST hold her ground! Oh, but if the men knew…. if they only knew her secret, and why she had slipped in among them, there would be an uproar. She would be immediately and harshly ejected from the group. She would be severely reprimanded, at the least. She doesn’t allow herself to think about the likelihood that she would then be stoned.

With an issue of blood, she was unclean! With an issue of blood, anything and anyone she TOUCHED became unclean (Lev 15:19-26). (Did I mention that they were ALL pressing in around her?) With an issue of blood, she could not enter the temple. With an issue of blood, she could not be intimate with her husband and therefore could not produce children. If she was not yet married, it would be impossible to become a bride, with an issue of blood. With an issue of blood. OH, with an issue of blood!

For 12 years, TWELVE years, she had been in this state. Surely she must have been weak from the continual loss of blood. But by far, more debilitating than her weakness, was her ever present shame. Most likely, she was barren, and this in itself would have been considered a curse. She had desperately sought out physician after physician. All her money was now gone and still none had been able to take away the uncleanness, the shame, the emptiness, the lifelessness that came with an issue of blood. She was helpless and hopeless. Despondent.

But then, oh but THEN! Then she heard of the rabbi from Nazareth. She heard of the things He taught and there was truth and healing in His words. And as she considered these things, just the tiniest flicker of hope began to flutter within her heart. Could He? Would He? Would He be able to stave this issue of blood? Could He make her clean again, take away the stigma and dismay? She had to know! She had to know HIM!  If she could only get to Him, would the result be the relief of shame? Would the result be life?


The more she turned the possibility over and over in her mind, the more she hoped. Eventually, this hope morphed into faith, and the faith sank down into her heart, and birthed action. She knew. She just knew if she could only connect with this rabbi, her pain, her uncleanness, and her shame would be taken away, and her lifeless womb would be restored.  If she could only connect with Rabbi Yeshua, she knew that she would emerge as a new person.

It was this faith that gave her the courage that day. And indeed, courage was necessary for any woman, specifically an unclean woman, to slip in with this throng of men, knowing that someone could recognize her.

Do you see her now? There? Head down, eyes averted and hand outstretched reaching, reaching, grasping? Do you feel her broken heart? Do you sense her shame, her loneliness, her longing? Do you recognize her determination to reach the Healer? Do you see her? Do you see – yourself?

Ahhhh, alas perhaps we have solved the first clue in this mystery. It was one of our “silent” clues; information that should have been there, yet wasn’t – her name. Now we can understand why the Scripture has chosen silence regarding her identity. For she represents not just one particular woman. Certainly, the Holy Spirit must have desired that we recognize that we are this woman. It is our uncleanness, our shame, our lifelessness, our need for a Healer that drives us to Rabbi Yeshua/Jesus. It is our desperate spiritual condition that is here pictured. It is our spiritual infertility that causes us to cry out for life! It is the hopeless situation of our hearts and souls that should drive us to seek out the rabbi from Nazareth. Ahhh, it is my story, and yours.

And perhaps we too have wasted many years searching for a solution in “all the wrong places.”  Instead of healing, have we come away even more sick, more ashamed, more hopeless, and now destitute as well?   Did we willingly hand over all our earthly treasure, in our misguided attempt to purchase our healing because we desperately wanted to be healed, to be cleansed, to be filled with life and not death, and to be –   a “bride?

And now we know what perhaps we did not know before. We can clearly see ourselves in the picture ingeniously concealed within the story of this mysterious, nameless woman. We can relate to her pain. We can empathize with her desire for life and cleansing. We now know “who” she was/is and why she was there.

Next, we will follow the clues to find out what happens next as we, too, desperately seek to connect with our Rabbi in such a way that a surge of power flows from Him into us, changing us forever.


While we await the date of our next stake-out, when we will again pick up our investigation into the other clues on our list,  perhaps we should utilize this time to ponder our identity as revealed in this mystery woman. Do we recall (or did we ever truly comprehend) what a desperate condition we were in before we connected with the rabbi from Nazareth?  Do we fully grasp and appreciate the miracle that we have received? What would have been our end had we remained in the disgusting, shameful, lifeless condition in which He encountered us?

In our next post, we will do more sleuthing regarding blood, as well as fringe benefits and the number twelve.  We will especially be watching for the miraculous surge of power that resulted in her healing. We will continue to dust for fingerprints, collect samples, and look for evidence.

Until then,

May the Master Investigator (Who stakes out our very hearts), continue to show us the clues, uncover the evidence, and connect the dots, as He seeks to reveal the very fingerprints of God!

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MYSTERY WOMAN Pt 1 – Whodunit

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Nuts and More

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The TV played in the background this evening, as I worked in the kitchen prepping meals for the next few days.  An old Shark Tank episode was winding to a close with an update from a previous show. It was of no consequence that it was a rerun from several years previous; I had not seen it before. Three young men from Rhode Island had pitched their Nuts and More nut butter business to the sharks and had been awarded a deal with Mark  Cuban. Now, a few months later, Nuts and More had become wildly successful and they were back reporting that their business had grown from a few thousand in sales to millions.  Instead of their previous $2500 per week, they were  currently bringing in $2500 per day!  And, not surprisingly, they were elated!

“This is a dream come true.”

“It’s all I’ve ever wanted!”

(Heavy sigh).  Why, I wondered….Why do we aim so low????

Is money, success, riches our “dream come true,” – our “everything I ever wanted?”   If so, I fear we are settling for far, far  too little!

After all, isn’t it true that any and all riches we might attain in this world will do us no good in a coffin? I just wonder … as our spirit leaves our body,  will we be greatly aggrieved that we did not set our sights on treasure that cannot be seen, and yet is not perishable? Will we sorrow over the fact that we did not want more for ourselves? MUCH more?

As our worldly treasures drift farther and farther from our sight, will our spiritual eyes finally perceive  that we are about to enter  eternity and the presence of the Most High as a naked pauper? A pauper who had so much potential and yet squandered his time and talents collecting things with no eternal value. Instead of gathering pearls we collected the empty seashells.  When we could have mined for diamonds, we ferreted away the coal. We had set our sights on a target. We had perfected our aim. We worked hard to achieve our goals. And just as total success was within our grasp, we discovered we had aimed for the wrong goal – and got it! And now, sadly, we find that after eagerly following the wrong treasure map, we have reached our desired destination, and the treasure chest is full of maggots.

The ugly truth is that we could come to our end only to find that we completely missed the point, tossing the treasured diamonds and pearls to the side as we greedily grappled for the trash instead. We understand now. We had substituted trash for treasure and collected the  wrong commodity.  And now it is too late.

“All I ever wanted.”

“My dream come true.”

Such short-sighted dreams, desires, and goals. What if instead, our greatest desire, our most fervent prayer, our most treasured goal, had been to be so close to our Heavenly Bridegroom that we could feel His breath on our face?  What if we had desired more than anything to enter the Secret Place of the Most High where His robe fills the sanctuary and incense rises continually?What if we had dared to dream of the riches of being invited to live in His presence forever?  What if we had learned to etch His heart into the fabric of our lives and the lives of others? Ahhhhh, now THAT would be eternal treasure indeed!

Matthew 6:19-21 19″Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

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Timmy and I were best friends, although he would have never admitted it.  After all, I was a girl and it was well known that girls had cooties!

The Bradys were/are dear friends with whom we attended church for many years. Daddy pastored a small Baptist Church in which Lecil Brady, Timmy’s daddy,  was a deacon and my daddy’s best friend.  Edna Earle , his mama, was my mama’s BFF. Decades before the BFF terminology would be coined and used to describe people you had not even actually met, the REAL BFF relationship was alive, well, and authentic in women like our mamas. It was a relationship in which each encouraged and supported the other in every facet of their lives, as wives, mothers, and Christians.  My sister, Susie, and I knew that if Edna Earle or Lecil called us down for something, we would be well advised to obey just as if it was our own mama and daddy. They functioned much more like aunt and uncle to us than family friends.

 By the time I was born, the Bradys already had two  boys; Lynn and Dennis.  Dennis and my sister, Susie, were born just a few months apart. And then Timmy came along soon after my birth, followed five years later by Lisa, who became my “baby sister” as she is to this day. Ten years later, a surprise – whom Edna Earle and Lecil named Todd.

Lecil, Edna Earl (holding Timmy), Lynn, Dennis, Mom (holding me) and Susie

Whether at church or away from it, our families spent a lot of time together. In fact, when Susie and I were about 5 and 7,  Daddy contracted encephalitis lethargica and slipped into a coma, from which he did not emerge for more than 30 days. During his prolonged hospitalization at the VA Hospital in Oklahoma City,  we were left in the care of the Bradys while Mama stayed with Daddy.  I have many fond and comforting memories from that extended period spent at their home during a very traumatic time in our lives.

We interacted with the Brady children much like siblings or cousins. In addition to being the same age and attending the same church, Timmy and I also shared a love for singing.  When we were about four or five,  our mamas finally convinced us to sing a duet in church; I Will Follow Jesus. Timmy, however, insisted that it was I will FOLLER Jesus. So we sang Foller, foller, I will foller Jesus. Anywhere, Everywhere, I will foller Him. Of course, at the time, we thought the congregation was laughing in delight. Now…. I wonder.

That’s me in the front row, 3rd from the left. Timmy is in the back row, 2nd from the left, in the plaid shirt.

Timmy could always convince me to spend hours playing tractors with him in the back yard. However, it was the extremely rare occasion that I was able to persuade Timmy to play house with me.  When I could convince him (or more often, his mother made him), he would run across the street and talk Melvin Owens into coming over to be the dad. No way was Timmy going to be anyone’s husband or anybody’s dad (you remember – cooties).  He would always be the checkout person at the grocery store (his dad worked at Safeway), or the butcher (his dad was a butcher), or the church song leader (his dad was the song leader), or the preacher. In the annual church nativity play, I always wanted to be Mary or an angel. Timmy always wanted to be one of the kings or one of the shepherds. Timmy wasn’t someone to put himself out front. He most often served in the background.

We spent numerous hours playing together, my best friend and I. Lecil had brought a retired Safeway shopping cart home for the kids to play with, and we spent many-a-day shopping with that cart in the garage and back yard, loading up with empty cans, bottles, and boxes saved for that purpose. At other times, the cart was flipped over with opening to the ground and wheels to the sky, to provide a cage for “wild animals” (neighborhood cats beware!)  But possibly the most exciting and oft used function of the cart, was providing dangerously fast and exceedingly bumpy rides to neighborhood kids and pets alike. It might have taken both of us to push the older kids, but push we did, through the back yard at breakneck speed, or on the front driveway. It was the source of many bumps, scrapes, and bruises, as well as much laughter.  When Lisa was a toddler, we would put her in the cart with baby blanket and doll baby, and race her around the yard, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying. It is actually miraculous that she emerged from childhood relatively unscathed. Yes, we always had fun at the Brady house.

Often, during the summertime, the Bradys would invite our small congregation to their house after Sunday evening service for a watermelon feast, ice cream social, or a “singin’.”  I especially liked the ice cream socials. A folded quilt would be placed atop the old wooden ice cream freezer. The “little kids” would take turns sitting on this quilt to hold the crank down while adults and teenagers took their turn at turn, turn, tuning the crank. When we had completed our time on the quilt, we’d reach into the top of the freezer bucket and grab some salty ice as our reward before taking off across the yard to rejoin play in progress.

In fact, it was during one of these gatherings, when all of the children were playing cannonball in the front yard, that I broke my arm. What is cannonball, you ask?  To play cannonball, one of the “big” kids (the cannon),  laid on the ground on his back with knees to his chest, feet together and tilted a bit skyward, forming a platform for the cannonball.  Once the cannonball was in place, the “cannon” would quickly extend his legs, shooting the “cannonball” into the air and across the lawn.  It was great fun! Well, at least most of the time, it was great fun. But on this night, when it was my turn to be the cannonball, the cannon, obviously miscalculating the weight/air velocity ratio,  shot me high into the air, propelling me a good distance across the lawn, where I landed  hard on my  right arm!  As I cried and screamed in pain,  most of the other kids really just wanted me to quit being a baby and hush so the game could continue. But not Timmy! Timmy escorted me into the house to our parents,  where I was passed around the room from lap to lap with everyone bending my arm and declaring that it was “not broken or she would not be able to bend it.”  However, when I continued to cry, to the hospital we went. X-rays confirmed a fracture. It turns out an arm CAN be bent even when it is broken!

In another team adventure, Timmy and I were playing outside on the swing set, taking turns bailing out. The swings were just a few yards from the kitchen window and the watchful eye of his mother.  We decided (I’m certain it was Timmy’s idea) that it would be great fun to scare his mom. Slipping into the house when Edna Earle was away from the kitchen, we slipped away with a bottle of catsup hidden beneath Timmy’s shirt. Back outside, we smeared ourselves liberally with the “blood,” and suppressed our excitement as we waited until we saw Edna Earle coming towards the kitchen window where we knew she would look out on us. At just the right moment, when we saw her shadow approaching the sink, we bailed out of the swings and began rolling on the ground and wailing at the top of our lungs.  She ran frantically out the back door to the pile of bloodied children writhing in obvious pain on the ground. And then, without missing a beat, she picked up the now empty catsup bottle and did her best to scold us while stifling laughter.

And then there was the ULTIMATE adventure! We decided to dig a hole in the back yard. It was a dangerous mission; one that we dare not mention to anyone. We were going to be missionaries!  Having heard that China was on the other side of the world,  we were convinced that if we were to dig deep enough, we could reach China and tell the people about Jesus! So we dug, and we dug, and then we dug some more. We would occasionally sit and rest  for a minute, mopping  the sweat from our brows before returning to the mission in earnest.  As we  began to encounter moisture and clay, the soil took on a different appearance. But, of COURSE everyone knew that Chinese soil would look different than American soil! The deeper we dug, the darker the soil appeared. Eventually, we began to notice a bit of red clay mixed in with the soil. With each subsequent shovelful, there was more and more red clay and we were becoming more and more concerned! Eventually, concern morphed into outright fear! The appearance of the  dark soil streaked with red, brought to our minds the pictures of fire and brimstone we had seen in church. We feared that instead of reaching China for Christ, we were on the brink of opening up HELL!

Having survived our close encounter with the underworld, a couple of years later, when we were about seven-ish years old, we excitedly planned another  top secret mission. We made plans to surprise Edna Earle for her upcoming birthday.   We convinced our mothers to allow  me to spend the night, and I snuck my mother’s round cake pans out of our house in my baby doll’s bed.  That night, Timmy got up in the middle of the night and came to Lisa’s room, calling to me in whispers from the door. I retrieved the pans from beneath my baby’s covers, and we tiptoed to the kitchen where we proceeded to bake a birthday cake.  We struggled through reading the directions, and did what we had seen our mothers do. (How nobody in the small house awakened, I will never understand).  But as is usually the case, you do not know what you do not know. And there were  two things that we did not know. We didn’t know to let the layers cool before icing. And we didn’t know what confectioner’s sugar was. So we stacked the cakes while hot, and made the icing with granulated sugar. The “icing” didn’t ever really take form, of course, and the runny liquid ran down the sides of the  hot cake. The top layer, with nothing to help it adhere to the bottom one, began sliding off, which gave us an excuse to use almost an entire box of toothpicks in our attempt to keep it in place. It certainly did not look like the beautiful cake we had envisioned. And the kitchen certainly did not look as it had when we had begun.  Nevertheless, Edna Earle acted as though it was the most beautiful and delicious birthday cake she had ever had.

Fond memories of a childhood filled with adventure, fun, scrapes, bruises, secret missions, sheer delight, laughter and tears. But that was long ago. We grew up and graduated from high school.  I was married within a few months.  Timmy, by then, was just Tim (but he’ll always be Timmy to me). “Tim” soon began spending a lot of time in Houston, where oldest brother, Lynn, lived. He eventually married Brenda, the beautiful sister of Lynn’s wife, Linda.  Since that time so many years ago, I have seen Timmy and Brenda far too few times, though I have always kept in contact with lil’ sis, Lisa, as well as Edna Earle and Lecil. They always kept me up on what was going on in Timmy’s life, sharing pictures of the children as they grew,  as well as the latest pictures of Timmy and Brenda.  It was fun to watch their family grow.

Then, approximately ten years ago, Lecil, gravely ill with cancer, was in the hospital.  Timmy came from Houston, and throughout the evening, many friends and family members visited Lecil’s hospital room.  Eventually, most everyone had returned home to put children to bed except for Lisa, Timmy, and me.  During Lecil’s last moments on this earth, the three of us stood at his bed, singing Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, Because He Lives and more. Our voices blended and harmonized much better than they had all those years previous when Timmy and I had stood before the church bellowing Foller, foller, I will foller Jesus. Still, I imagine Lecil enjoyed both.

A few years later, I had an opportunity to visit with Timmy briefly when he came to care for his mother during the last few months that she was able to live at home. My brother/cousin, Tim, was still the same as he had been all those years before. Still smiling. Still caring and fun. A great husband to Brenda. A great father to Chris and Breann. A great brother to Lisa, Todd, and Dennis. (Lynn had passed away many years previous). He was a great son, and, I have no doubt, a great friend also. Most importantly, he was a man of integrity and character; a truly godly man. And possibly most rare, he retained his humble, kind,  and selfless nature. Tim really did foller, foller, foller Jesus.

Most of the above memories reveal what kind of a child Timmy was. But before bringing this to a conclusion, I’d like to share a memory which demonstrates the kind of man Timmy became. When Tim’s daddy died, Lisa and Edna Earle asked me, along with several others, to speak at the funeral. I shared several stories of what it was like growing up “Brady”, one of which was about the Brady grandparents.  I told of how it seemed that Mom, Susie and I were always there when Grandma and Grandpa Brady, or Grandma and Grandpa Meadors came to visit. You could be sure that at some point or points during their visit, all of the available children would line up in front of Grandpa Brady for a chance of being awarded a Buffalo Nickel if he was able to count the child’s ribs without causing them to laugh. Do you know how ticklish you become when you’re concentrating on not laughing?

I continued to relate how I felt SO much a part of the family that I REALLY believed that they were my grandparents too!  I recounted the time that I had said something about Grandma and Grandpa and how Timmy had retorted.  “They’re NOT your grandma and grandpa.  They’re MY grandpa and grandma.  I was shocked and it hurt my feelings to learn that they really weren’t family.  The point of the story, was that the Bradys made me feel so much like family that I actually believed I was.

After the funeral, Timmy came to me with tears in his eyes and hugged me, apologizing for hurting my feelings! At first, I didn’t know what he was talking about. Of course my feelings were not still hurt; that was the reaction of a child.  But Timmy couldn’t bear the thought that he had caused me pain even that far in the past. Oh, that we could all have a heart like Timmy’s!

And now, he has reached his reward. Lisa phoned on Friday with the sad news that our Timmy has died.  It was a shock and an exceedingly sad day!  Although Timmy had recently not been well and under a doctor’s care, his death was sudden, unexpected, devastating.   He leaves not only a  family struggling in pain, but a hole in the fabric of the world. I am thankful that there are many who are sad today at the loss of Timmy, because it is testimony to the great treasure he invested in the lives of many. I am also thankful that the Comforter will be with those who grieve.

Today is one of those times that I need to again remind myself that our Maker’s decisions are always righteous. I need to recall that if we believe what we say we believe, then Timmy is in our future and not in our past. For that we can be  tremendously grateful.

I can imagine that Timmy is again participating in a “singin” with his daddy as well as mine. I’m certain that my brother-in-laws parents, Blanche and Roy Lowder, who were also life-long friends, are in that group as well. Perhaps my mama and my precious Leo, neither of whom had much of a singing voice on earth, are now gifted in that way too. The harmony of their voices lifted in praise, in the actual presence of the King to Whom the praise is offered, surely must be breath-taking! 

As part of Tim’s legacy, I pray I will strive to be humble, loving, selfless, kind, giving, and available to those in need. I pray that I will stay with the sick, sing comforting songs at the bedside of the dying, repair the broken, and pray for the weak. I pray that I will follow Timmy’s example as I endeavor to  foller, foller, foller all the way… until we once again meet On That Beautiful Shore, Timmy,  in the Sweet By and By.

Lecil and Edna Earl’s 50th wedding anniversary with all of the kids. Todd, Lisa, Timmy, Dennis, and Lynn.

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