A Morning Story

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Confession: I woke up cranky today. I was impatient with my kids, griping about what they had or hadn’t done and short-tempered with inanimate objects like a box of cookies that wouldn’t easily open while I was packing lunches. I was stomping around and sighing deep and bitter sighs over an accidental apple juice spill when the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me that it wasn’t my kids’ fault I stayed up too late and then overslept as a result of it. It wasn’t my kids’ fault that I was feeling anxious about spending most of today in a dentist’s chair (). It wasn’t my kids’ fault that I hadn’t gotten my ideal morning routines done, but it certainly was MY fault that I was behaving badly and starting their day off with Grumpy-Mom. He reminded me of gentleness, patience, and self-control. He reminded me that it is my job to teach them what it looks like to reflect Jesus even when emotions don’t measure up and circumstances aren’t perfect.

I stopped fighting with the uncooperative box of Oreos and apologized to my children. Without hesitation, they forgave me. They were sorry I was having a hard day and they wished me a better morning. They loved me so well in their compassion. Their kindness humbled me — and showed me a glimpse of God.

This is His way, to not only forgive – but to forgive with abounding love and mercy, encouraging us to move forward in His grace without condemnation lingering on our hearts. His forgiveness is whole and His redemption power fully covers our sin.

So, all that to say- if you happen to have started today or this week (or even this year!) on the wrong foot — stop. Take a breath. Make the apologies you might need to make, to your people and to the Father. And then move forward in His grace and in the unfailing kindness of His love. Know you are forgiven and it’s the next moment that matters. Leave behind what has been and press on, trusting that He is ever-transforming us into His image if we keep surrendering our hearts, our minds, and even our crankiest of mornings into His keeping.

I am grateful today for mercy. I am thankful for love that keeps on loving, never giving up on us.

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.”
-Lamentations 3:22-23

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Together We Follow: Genesis 12: 11-20

fullsizerender-16There have been moments in my life when I feared that my past sin would alter God’s willingness to use me for His purposes. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever worried that your past would change God’s mind about you or render His plans for you null and void?

If you’ve ever felt this way, then I hope that today’s reading will help to reassure you of your place in God’s heart…

As he was approaching the border of Egypt, Abram said to his wife, Sarai, “Look, you are a very beautiful woman.  When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’ So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you.”

And sure enough, when Abram arrived in Egypt, everyone noticed Sarai’s beauty. When the palace officials saw her, they sang her praises to Pharaoh, their king, and Sarai was taken into his palace. Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her—sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

But the Lord sent terrible plagues upon Pharaoh and his household because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh summoned Abram and accused him sharply. “What have you done to me?” he demanded. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ and allow me to take her as my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and get out of here!” Pharaoh ordered some of his men to escort them, and he sent Abram out of the country, along with his wife and all his possessions.

Today we see Abram, the man who surrendered his future to God, in an act of deception. Seeing the power of Pharaoh, he allowed fear to motivate his actions. He allowed this new circumstance to intimidate him. Fearing that the Egyptians would take his life in order to take Sarai into the house of Pharaoh, Abram called her his sister – withholding the full truth of her identity as his wife.

Not trusting that God would protect both he and his wife, Abram chose the wrong path to control the situation himself. His short-sighted decision led to Sarai being taken to the palace – it was God, in His mercy, that protected Sarai and brought her back to Abram’s side.

This was a moment for Abram to understand the faithfulness of God…this was a moment for Abram to see the grace of God.

Instead of ending in catastrophe under the wrath of Pharaoh, this incident leads to Abram and Sarai leaving Egypt to go on with their journey into the future God had promised them. God’s faithfulness did not change when Abram’s focus faltered. His promises did not disappear because Abram chose deceit.

This is grace.

When we don’t deserve it, God comes to rescue us. It’s exactly what Jesus did on the cross. It isn’t our righteousness that prepares us for God’s purpose, but His redemption power in our lives.

If we decide to sin and go on without repentance, without turning from our wrong, then we are the ones to walk away from our place in God’s plan for us…we can, in our continued disobedience, miss out on the abundant life God would intend for us. Paul tells us in 2nd Corinthians sorrow without repentance leads to spiritual death…but Godly sorrow that leads to repentance results in salvation.

When we didn’t deserve it, when we didn’t earn it – we received rescue from our sin… and this grace that God has given out of His great love continues to affect every aspect of our lives.

Don’t let regret about the past keep you from His promises for today. 

Our past sin? Our sin that has been forgiven? Our sin that has been removed from us, as far as the east is from the west? (Psalm 103:12) Those wrongs may have changed us, may have taught us, may have taken us the long way around our dreams, may have brought the discipline of the Father to us…but those sins no longer define us. His mercy does. His redemption power is stronger than our sin – and so, YES – He will still use you for His glory. YES, He still has a purpose for you. YES, He will be true to His promises.

Our lives become a story not of our sin, not of our losses, but of His grace and victory in us. Our lives become a story of transformation, of a new creation made in us. Our lives become a story of hope – knowing what He has done for Abram, for Sarai, for you and for me…He can do for anyone who will believe.

 

 

I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with Himself depends on faith. I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.-from Philippians 3 

Advent Wonder: Grace

I find myself –again- knees to floor and heart undone, wondering how so much escapes my efforts. I am somehow still shocked, every now and then, by the struggle between flesh and spirit. Regretting a temper quick to flare and patience in short supply, I wish I could wave a wand of white-out and cover the wasted minutes and the trail of mistakes. I wish I could hide all my faults.

I feel, down to my bones, my need for a Savior willing to come to where I am. Because on days like these, I am a mess of shame and frustration. On days like these, I see – again – how much I need His grace. On my own, I cannot begin to attain righteousness. I cannot love the way my people need me to love. I cannot become ‘good’ in my own try-hard ways.

But the thing that I remember is this- even if I could manage to achieve some manner of righteousness on my own, it would still be like a pile of dirty rags in the light of His holiness.

And I marvel at this kind of mercy: He was wrapped in our flesh so that we could be wrapped in His righteousness. He wore our shame so that we can wear His holiness.

All the wishing and white-out in the world cannot cover our sins, but His blood does. He was wounded for us, His body broken for our iniquities. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. (Ephesians 1:7) We do not have to hide our faults, we do not have to cower in shame and condemnation because if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

We could give it our all, our best, every day of our lives and would not be able to step into God’s presence…so Jesus came and give His all, His best – Himself. And that is, eternally, enough for us to boldly approach the throne of mercy. For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21)

We are forgiven. We are new creations in Christ, no longer slaves to sin and flesh. When we walk with the Spirit, He helps us to live in holiness, to live like Jesus. When we falter, when we fail – because we are not yet made perfect – this is the time to remember how dependent we are on Jesus, on the Holy Spirit abiding with us. We can’t crucify our flesh, we can’t follow Him in our own power. But when we try it (because sometimes we do) – and when we fall flat on our faces (because we will!) – He helps us back up, gives us strength and wisdom to deal with the consequences. He gives us mercy, every morning new, and His faithfulness never depends on ours.

Today, I am reminded that my Savior who was born into a messy, imperfect stable still comes to me in my messy, imperfect heart.

His patience and compassion are everything to me when I stumble. Jesus leads us to repentance. He speaks new life and freedom into our souls. He heals us and He delivers us. He meets us where we are, in our surrendered hearts, and loves us.

His love does not depend on whether or not deserve it. It never has. He loves because He is love. And His love toward us transforms us, brings us into His presence, makes us new.

It was His wildly extravagant love that brought this beautiful, incomprehensible truth:

He became like us so that we can become like Him.

And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!

-from Ephesians 3

{originally posted in December 2014}

The Power to Redeem…(Scripture&Song for the days when we need a reminder of our freedom & hope)

Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of His strength? ‘It is I, proclaiming victory, mighty to save.’…in His love and mercy He redeemed them; He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.”-Is. 63:1b,9b

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remember your sins no more.” -Is. 43:25

“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoiced in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness…” -Is.61 10

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! -2 Cor.5:17

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. -Eph.1:7

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.-Col.2:13-15

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.-Heb.4:16

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I hope in Him!”-Lam.3:21-24

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“…it was a testament to how God truly sets us free from everything that the enemy has in store for us. I love the idea that the enemy thinks that he is trapping us, but God in turn flips it on its head and says – ‘Actually, that’s gonna’ be the thing that I get the most glory from. That’s gonna’ be the thing that I redeem them from…even though we all have moments of regret or shame or failure…His love that He so lavished on us, His power has nailed all that to the tree. It’s done, it was finished at the cross and now we can walk in true redemption.” -Lauren Daigle*

*quoted from the Relevant Magazine podcast, discussing the inspiration behind ‘The Power to Redeem’

Set Free to Live as His Workmanship {a guest post by Jacquie Wagner}

 I am so grateful to have Jacquie Wagner sharing with us today. Although we have never met face to face, Jacquie’s words and prayers have been a source of encouragement in my life for years. The love of Jesus shines so clearly through her – and I see such a beautiful reflection of our Savior in her love for God and for the body of Christ. {You can read more of Jacquie’s words and see her editorial handiwork over at Christian Women Online.}  

I am particularly grateful for Jacquie’s testimony today…because sometimes the most difficult battles we fight are within ourselves and we can lose sight of the victory that is already ours through Jesus. Sometimes we hold onto our pasts, hold onto our sins, hold onto the chains that have already been broken by our Savior’s power. I am thankful for this truth that Jacquie is reminding us of today…submitting to Christ’s authority and receiving His grace over our lives brings freedom and peace, hope and purpose. He overcomes the darkness around us and within us….loving us all the while.

For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.-Col. 1:13

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Because Jesus is Alive… I’m not stuck with myself and less likely to be stuck on myself!

We all have them ~those days where we run face to face into who we are in our flesh, with our failings ~ our ugly parts that surface and show themselves to, at, and over others, or our own personal load of sin that shows itself to us: fear, doubt, gossip, laziness, unkindness, meanness, our… Maybe it would be faster to just quote the love part of 1 Corinthians 13 ~ only as the opposite of all those good things. Or maybe snag one or more of Paul’s deadly accurate lists of sins, the makeup of our Self ~ ugh! Apart from the work of God in our lives, we are none of us very pretty on the inside ~ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

Praise be to God who does not leave us in our filth!  Praise be to God who gave us Jesus, His only Son, who died to pay for our transgressions, and who rose again and lives at the right hand of the Father interceding for us!  Praise God for the reality of the Blood which cleanses us from ALL sin!  I don’t know about you, but one of the realities of the cross that is hard for me to grasp with any kind of a firm hold is the truth that ALL of our sins ~ our personal “whoops-ities” and “grossities” ~were FUTURE sins at the cross.  We tend ~ in moods of introspection and/or when we’re forced to see it ~ to get hung up on our sin and failures like they somehow make us lesser in that moment or season.  The truth is, though, that our present sins are no more degrading/depressing/dehumanizing/deinflating etc. than our first sin or whatever our last sin will be.  Sin is sin and it was all paid for BEFORE we ever committed them!  We are no less the beloved children of God when we sin than before.

God loves us right where we are now ~ in the midst of a mess or on the high way with Him ~ because the truth is we’re always on the high way with Him. God’s not any more enamored of our times of sin than we are, but He’s FAR less interested in stirring them around than we are. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 Then He drops them in the sea of forgetfulness and would like us to do the same because:

~ Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… Romans 8:1

~ For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

~ I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20

~  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Which verse brings us to the other half of a “problem” in our lives that Jesus delivers us from daily because He is alive ~

If I’m not unduly wrestling with remorse over my sin (and there is a time and place for that, but not everyday, all day where it paralyzes us in our walk with the Lord), then I’m wrestling with the flip side of things ~ glorying in what an awesome Christian I am for whatever awesome thing the Lord is doing in me and through me.  Whatever good is occurring in my life has zero to do  with me and everything to do with what the Lord is working in my life.  The  verse is so good and so full of truth, let’s do it again ~

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (emphasis mine)

We can follow this up with these good Words of Life ~

…it is God Who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image of glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Not much room in there for me, or you, to be taking any glory for the good! Likewise, there’s not much room to be stuck mourning our sins, for we really don’t have time ~

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37-28

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Of Strawberries, Swimming Sprints, & Grace

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Blossoms have appeared in the long-neglected flowerpot by my sidewalk.

I did not expect this to happen.

This strawberry plant, purchased with such good intentions a few seasons ago, has been thoroughly un-tended…through scorching-hot Carolina summers and iced-over winters, it has not been given any care. The soil is the same layer of Miracle-grow bought with the plant itself…and so, when I glanced at the pot at all over the past few spring-sweet weeks, I thought for sure that the weeds were thriving but the actual plant was hopeless.

But – undeserved and unexpected – there it is, a simple white flower reaching out for sunshine.

And with some clearing out of the weeds, some water for its roots, some rejuvenation of the soil…we might even see strawberries.

We have been given a second (third? fourth?) chance to bear fruit.

I look at the flower a little longer, thinking about second chances…thinking about grace.

I think about the words given to the women when they went to anoint the body of their Savior and found an empty tomb – “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” (Mark 16: 6-7)

Those two little words – ‘and Peter’? To the man who had denied his Lord – those two words meant ‘you are still loved, you are still welcome’…they meant grace.

Peter’s grief over the death of Jesus was compounded by the regret he felt, the shame he carried, the sorrow of that moment when the rooster crowed and his eyes met the eyes of the One he loved…the Lord he had just denied. Luke shows us this moment – no doubt forever burned into Peter’s memory – in his 22nd chapter: The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown Me three times.”

And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:54-62)

Haven’t we all been there? We make our proclamations of faithfulness, we determine to seek and serve our God with all of our hearts…and then – just like Peter did on that night…we fail to follow through on our promises. We make mistakes. We choose sin. We just mess up. And, then, like Peter – we feel heart-broken and undone. Maybe Peter wondered – perhaps, too, we wonder – if there’s hope for us.

Maybe we feel like the damage has been done. Maybe we have wandered away from who God has called us to be for so long that our hearts feel stagnant, overrun with distraction and the debris of our struggles. Maybe we wonder if there’s any life left beneath the surface of it all.  Maybe we look at ourselves and see the grasping weeds of sin and shame where all of our good intentions were once so carefully planted…maybe we find ourselves where Peter was on that day of Resurrection – uncertain of our place in His presence.

If I were Peter, I might have wondered why Jesus would want me anywhere near Him after I was so faithless. Wouldn’t it be better to just go back to my fishing boat? For how could His words to me – you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church – come to pass now, after I had so blatantly betrayed Him not once, not twice – but three times?

But the angels said ‘tell His disciples – and Peter – that He is going before you into Galilee and there you will see Him…’ –and so the hope of another chance kindled and burned brightly in Peter’s heart…isn’t it only the marvel of mercy that would cause a man –too impatient to wait for the boat to travel even a hundred yards — to jump out of a boat at the sight of Jesus on the shore, swimming with all his might to draw nearer to Him? (John 21)

Jesus looked directly at the sin of all mankind – Peter’s, mine, yours – and He shouldered it Himself, bore it on the cross so that we can find forgiveness. He knows that our good intentions – our best efforts, our strength of will – aren’t going to be enough…they never have been. That’s why He came – because He alone is the perfect sacrifice and His blood alone covers our sins.

Undeserved and unexpected, we are given grace.

After his exuberant dash from the boat to the beach, Peter and Jesus had a conversation…and Jesus questioned him three times – Do you love Me? With each answer, Jesus commissioned Peter to feed His sheep. Peter’s mistakes did not prohibit him from fulfilling the work God had called him to do for the church…with pruning and Spirit-life poured into Peter, he bore much fruit for the glory of God.

If you are in a place of neglected soul and wrong turns – can I just offer you the same hope that was offered to Peter (and to every single one of us?) – you are lovedyou are welcomedyou have a place in Him. His grace is stronger than the sun-scorched season that seems to have dried up our lives, His mercy runs deeper than the roots of any sin, and He calls forth life even when we think all is lost.

With the resurrection of Jesus, we are given this chance of new life — because He overturned sin, death, and condemnation on that day. We have hope of fresh beginnings, our sins forgiven, our hearts tended by the One who knows exactly what needs to be cleared away…and He plants His own Spirit within our hearts. With His love, we find grace…and with His grace, new life comes.

May there be a wildly abundant and beautiful harvest among us.

“When we were overwhelmed by sins, You forgave our transgressions.” –Psalm 65:3

“If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing….this is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.” –John 15:5 & 8

Love Leads Us Home {following Christ to Calvary}, Day 10: Scripture-Reading

After spending time in a Samaritan town, Jesus returned to Galilee. Everywhere He went, He changed lives. So many of the moments we read in the Gospels are one-on-one encounters between someone with a need and Jesus. I love reading about these moments, because it’s a chance to witness how Jesus interacted with those who came to Him.

He took His time with each person. He already knew their hearts (John 2:25) and what their souls needed. He healed the physical hardships…and as He healed, He revealed His compassion and His authority. He taught the disciples and all those around Him what it meant to have faith in Him and in the Father.

As we read through some of those encounters today, we won’t witness only healing – we will witness forgiveness of sins. We will witness soul-restorations because of God’s grace.

I hope, that as we see the power and mercy of Jesus, we will remember that this same Savior wants us to cast our own cares upon Him – because He cares for us. He still meets us in one-on-one encounters if we call out to Him. He still has the power to change our lives – but first we have to trust Him with our needs. 

And I pray that we will know for ourselves that He is able – and willing – to heal our bodies, hearts, and souls. I pray we, too, will say “we have seen remarkable things today.” (Luke 5:26)

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After two days He left for Galilee. (Now Jesus Himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in His own country.) When He arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed Him. They had seen all that He had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.

Once more He visited Cana in Galilee, where He had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to Him and begged Him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

“Go,” Jesus replied,” your son will live.”

The man took Jesus at His word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”

Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.

This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.

-John 4:43-54

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While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged Him, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

Jesus (moved with compassion*) reached out His hand touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”

Yet the news about Him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

– Luke 5:12-16 (*the writer of Mark adds in this detail in Mk 1:41)

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When Jesus came into Peter’s house, He saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on Him.

When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to Him, and He drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.’

–Matthew 8:14-17

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One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

When Jesus saw their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgive,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

So He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”

Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.

Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.” –Luke 5:17-26

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