“Surely He bore our sorrows…”

(Matthew 8: 1-4, The Message) 1-2 Jesus came down the mountain with the cheers of the crowd still ringing in his ears. Then a leper appeared and went to his knees before Jesus, praying, “Master, if you want to, you can heal my body.”

3-4 Jesus reached out and touched him, saying, “I want to. Be clean.” Then and there, all signs of the leprosy were gone. Jesus said, “Don’t talk about this all over town. Just quietly present your healed body to the priest, along with the appropriate expressions of thanks to God. Your cleansed and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.”


I love the simplicity found in this exchange between Jesus and the man with leprosy.  This man, so sick and in so much pain, had an undemanding and sincere measure of faith.  Notice that he didn’t even ask Jesus to heal him; he simply stated, “If you want to…I know you can.”  He humbled himself, down on his knees, and declared his faith in Jesus.  His recompense?  Total restoration. 

I can’t help but think of people who are living under the oppression of outward, obvious sin and its consequences.  Like the leper, they are often cast aside, seen as filthy, and exiled from the sacred confines of the church. 

We see your sin.  We see your struggle.  We don’t want any part of it.

Maybe that’s you, or someone you hold dear to your heart.  You get up every day and strap on your backpack full of shame and haul it around because you’re just used to it, and you think you deserve it.  You spend each day feeling like the dead man walking.  Maybe someone else has convinced you that it’s just your cross to bear in life.  Well, it’s time to find the truth and stop dragging around your failures. 

YOU ARE NOT A LEPER!!! 

What I mean is…you don’t have to feel like a castaway just because someone else knows about something you did.  Guess what?  We don’t always know specifics, but we do know something that is a universal truth about people…WE ALL SIN!  EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US is an unworthy, lowly, sinner who deserves death…as we are all born into the dilemma and curse of sin. 

But just like Jesus wanted to heal the leper (and did), He wants to heal your life (and will).  Romans 8: 1-4 says:  1-2 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.  3-4 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all.

You must understand that because God is love, of course He wants to restore your life.  You simply have to humble yourself and believe.  It’s not about begging, or even hoping.  It’s about an unembellished statement of faith:  If You want to…I know You can.  He wants to, He can, and He will. 

Maybe you are worried that others won’t believe you, and that because of your past you will shed a negative light on the name of Christ.  Please do not buy into that lie!  It’s straight from the mouth of the devil, and it has no place in your life.  You don’t have to convince anyone else that your life is changed.  Just live according to God’s word and let your life do the talking. 

“Your cleansed and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.”


Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I thank you for the beautiful exchange that takes place when we simply believe.  Beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning, peace for despair.  Amen.

“Let the Ruins Come to Life”

(Amos 9:11, NLT) “In that day I will restore the fallen house of David.  I will repair its damaged walls.  From the ruins I will rebuild it and restore its former glory.”

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Ruins…crumbling stone, splintered wood, shattered glass, smoldering ash, scattered debris…they’re all images that come to mind when I think of ruins.  In my mind I see greatness that once was, now broken and defeated by time, defeat, and neglect. 

We all go through periods in our lives where we feel the weight of our choices and sins.  We have battles that we lose, and we take big hits in life that damage our walls and weaken our foundations.  Unfortunately for some of us, the foundations and walls eventually give way under the pressure we’ve created, and everything comes crashing down around us in great heaps of unrecognizable rubble.  With one wrong decision, everything we worked so hard to build is reduced to mere garbage — something to be cleared away and forgotten. 

If this is you right now, I want to tell you…don’t give up on your dreams just because you made a mess of things.  Maybe you feel like a pile of junk right now.  Sin tends to do that to us, doesn’t it?  Especially when we are so obviously broken.  There is no more hiding the cracks and smudges behind spackle and paint.  When you’ve gone so far, when things seem to be broken beyond repair, and it’s all just out there for all the world to see your ruins, there is nothing left to do except to either walk away…tail tucked, shoulders slumped…or stand tall and prepare to do some work.  Let me encourage you today, go for the latter.  Square those shoulders and lift your hands to heaven in surrender. 

We are all God’s children, loved and adored equally.  Just as He dotes on and blesses the righteous, He wants to pour out every bit of grace that it takes to restore the former glory of your life.    God the Father has promised to never leave your side…and He won’t.  As much as God adored King David, even when he had adultery and murder in his heart, don’t you know that God loves YOU just as much?  Whatever you have done, whatever you have said, no matter the magnitude of how any of it has affected your life, God’s grace is BIGGER…and He will bring you up out of the ashes…He will rebuild what you have lost.  You have simply to humble yourself at His feet, just as David did. 

(Psalm 51: 10-12, NLT) 

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.

    Renew a loyal spirit within me.

11 Do not banish me from your presence,

    and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

    and make me willing to obey you.

When we confess and humbly bow before the throne of grace, our God will restore…every time.  His grace never runs out, His love never fails, and His kindness is what will lead us into repentance each time that we fall.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank You for your endless love and grace.  I know that when I come to You with a broken and injured spirit, no matter the cause or sin, You will respond to my humility and regret with healing and restoration.  Because of Your love, I am whole.  Because of Your grace, I am made new.  Amen.

Come To Your Senses!

(2 Chronicles 6:36-39 HCSB) 36 When they sin against You — for there is no one who does not sin  — and You are angry with them and hand them over to the enemy, and their captors deport them to a distant or nearby country,  37 and when they come to their senses in the land where they were deported and repent and petition You in their captors’ land, saying: “We have sinned and done wrong; we have been wicked,”  38 and when they return to You with their whole mind and heart in the land of their captivity where they were taken captive, and when they pray in the direction of their land that You gave their ancestors, and the city You have chosen, and toward the temple I have built for Your name,  39 may You hear their prayer and petitions in heaven, Your dwelling place, and uphold their cause.  May You forgive Your people who sinned against You.


Have you ever done something and then said, “Why in the world did I do that? Or, “I should have known better than that! I have. Many times!

I remember deciding I would cut and hang some crown molding in our house. I had done all the prep work–I had bought the molding, measured the lengths, set up the saw–In my mind, I had really thought this project through. I had even watched some DIY videos on Youtube so I would be thoroughly prepared for this simple little job.

When it came time to cut the wood, I messed it up terribly. I could not remember which way to turn the wood so the saw would cut the necessary angle on the proper side. I’m sorry to admit that I tried several times and FAILED EVERY TIME! I was embarrassed, and a little angry that I had ruined the pieces of molding I had paid good money for.

I went back to the store to buy more wood when the employee at the lumber yard asked, “Weren’t you just here?” I sheepishly admitted that I had been there earlier and shared with him what I had done, and how frustrated I was that I could not do the job properly. He chuckled and shared with me that I was not alone; that this simple job was messed up by most of the amateurs who tried to do it. He said, “Let me show you a simple trick that will enable you to make the proper cut EVERY TIME! He continued, “Anyone, with a little common sense can do it!” He had more faith than I did!

In dedicating the temple, Solomon prayed and asked God to have mercy on the people. He said, “When they come to their senses…” and “When they return to you with their whole mind and heart…may you hear their prayer…may You forgive Your people…”

How many times have you messed up? You may be dealing with problems right now that are a direct result of poor choices on your part. I have good news to bring! God will always forgive and help those who come to their senses! John wrote, (1 John 2:1 HCSB) 1 My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ the Righteous One.

That is very good news!


PRAYER: Lord, please be patient with me as I bring my thoughts back in to proper alignment with your will. Many times, I’ve been guilty of not using common sense. But, with Your help I will come to my senses so that I can be forgiven and restored. Amen!