Tag Archives: restoration

In Search of The One

Psalm 23:6 Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.

What a great verse to start the day! I don’t which part I like better- the part about goodness and mercy always following me or about dwelling in the presence of the Lord forever! We are promised, because the Lord is our Shepherd, only goodness, mercy and unfailing love will follow us throughout our lives. The job of a shepherd is to watch over his sheep- caring for them, protecting them, keeping them out of trouble and making sure that they are well-taken care of. As long as the sheep stay close to their shepherd, they don’t have to worry about anything. It’s only when they wander outside of his care that they may have problems. It’s the same way for us with our Shepherd. When we stay in the Lord’s care, allowing Him to provide for our needs, offering protection and guidance, we can be assured that we won’t have to worry about anything. It’s only when we wander away from Him that we have to fend for ourselves.

In Luke 15:4-6 Jesus tells this parable 4What man of you, if he has a hundred sheep and should lose one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness (desert) and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?   5And when he has found it, he lays it on his [own] shoulders, rejoicing.  6And when he gets home, he summons together [his] friends and [his] neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep which was lost. I remember hearing this story in Sunday School as a child, only with a little more detail. It went something like this-  The shepherd had brought all of his sheep home for the evening, and as he did every night he counted them one by one to make sure they were all there. When he was done counting he realized that one of the little sheep was missing. He went out in the dark to search for the little lamb. When he had searched for a long while he heard a sound. He shone his light down into a deep ravine and saw the little lamb lying at the bottom, hungry, cold and afraid. He quickly went into the ravine and rescued the lamb. He carried it back to the barn where he took care of it’s needs. Even though my teachers took some poetic license with the original parable, as I have, we can still learn a few things from this fictional story. First, the 99 sheep that stayed with the shepherd were warm, dry, safe and cozy in their barn the entire time, it was only the one who wandered off that got into trouble. Second, the shepherd cared enough about the one little lamb that he was willing to go out in the night and search for it no matter how long it took. Third, once he found the lost sheep he took it back to the rest of the flock, tended to it’s needs, and brought it to a place of restoration. This is how much our Heavenly Father, our Shepherd, loves us. If we stay by His side, following His lead He keeps us from harm and we see His goodness and mercy and unfailing love continually at work in our lives. If we do happen to get lost, He will do whatever it takes to bring us back to His fold. When he does find us, or rather when we find Him again, He brings us back to a place of restoration just as if we had never left. Take a minute today to thank God for His care and concern for you!

Reach Out Your Hand

Reach Out Your Hand

Matthew 12:9-13 9And going on from there, He went into their synagogue.  10And behold, a man was there with one withered hand. And they said to Him, Is it lawful or allowable to cure people on the Sabbath days?–that they might accuse Him.  11But He said to them, What man is there among you, if he has only one sheep and it falls into a pit or ditch on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out?   12How much better and of more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful and allowable to do good on the Sabbath days.   13Then He said to the man, Reach out your hand. And the man reached it out and it was restored, as sound as the other one.
One of the greatest things about Jesus is that He is never concerned with what things look like in the natural. He sees things from a supernatural level and operates accordingly. Think of this man, standing in the temple with a withered hand. Have you ever seen anyone with a withered hand? I have. All twisted and bent, unable to move it or straighten it out. Jesus walks up to the man and says “reach out your hand.” Stop right there. How could Jesus ask this man to do something he was physically incapable of doing? Notice He didn’t say, “Stretch out your hand, I’m going to heal it.” Or “Be made whole and give me your hand.” No! He simply said “reach out your hand.” He didn’t care about the physical impossibility. He wasn’t concerned that the man had no feeling in his hand and couldn’t even move it, let alone reach out to Him. He knew that the healing power in Him would be able to work with the man’s faith and if that man would just obey he would be made whole. 

The man also had a responsibility. He had to give Jesus what He had. Can you imagine the thoughts that must have been running around in his head? “What does He mean, stretch out my hand?” “Doesn’t He know I’m crippled and my hand won’t move?”  However, his belief that Jesus was able to heal him overrode anything he might have been thinking. With faith that Jesus was a miracle worker, the man stretched out his hand and was completely restored! There is such a valuable lesson to be learned here. Sometimes we just have to give Him what we have. No matter how little or insignificant or impossible it may be, when we reach out to Jesus, He will bring us to a place of restoration and healing. Maybe you have a wounded heart, bruised and battered by negative words spoken to you and negative actions taken against you over the years. Reach out to Him and trust that He can heal you and you will be made whole. Maybe you have a broken relationship. Give it to Him and purpose that you are going to do things His way and watch restoration come.  Maybe you are in need of a physical healing. Move what you couldn’t move before, believing that healing power is in your body working a healing and a cure. Remember that Jesus isn’t concerned with what it looks like, so we shouldn’t be either. The man with the withered hand had nothing to lose and everything to gain and so do we. Reach out and be restored by His healing power.

Don’t Walk By

Matthew 8:28-34 28And when He arrived at the other side in the country of the Gadarenes, two men under the control of demons went to meet Him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce and savage that no one was able to pass that way.  29And behold, they shrieked and screamed, What have You to do with us, Jesus, Son of God? Have You come to torment us before the appointed time?  30Now at some distance from there a drove of many hogs was grazing.   31And the demons begged Him, If You drive us out, send us into the drove of hogs.  32And He said to them, Begone! So they came out and went into the hogs, and behold, the whole drove rushed down the steep bank into the sea and died in the water.  33The herdsmen fled and went into the town and reported everything, including what had happened to the men under the power of demons. 34And behold, the whole town went out to meet Jesus; and as soon as they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their locality.
I had something in mind when I first read this scripture, but then God spoke something else to me. So we’ll save my idea for another day and go with His! What really struck me here was in verse 28 two men came to meet Jesus who were demon-possessed. It says they were so fierce and savage that no one was able to pass that way. I am sure that everyone must have been afraid of them, and when I read this it made me feel sad. I thought of these two men, out of their minds, with no control over how they lived their life. They weren’t able to be around society and so they lived in the tombs. They reminded me of some men I saw a few years ago in Honduras. We went to an area of town called the Chivarito. It was an area so rough that you could literally see a different drug being sold on every corner. There was a lot of gang activity, poverty, sickness, and it wasn’t a very nice place to be. Many of the people living in this area were addicted to glue. Yes, they sniffed glue to the point that they were out of their minds, they had no family, no money, no clothing and no home. Without a place to sleep at night, many of them would go to the side of a hill where there were a bunch of graves. They dug out the tombs and slept in them along with the old bones of dead people. No, I’m not kidding. In the midst of this mess, however, shone a small light of hope. A local pastor started a mission where he began to rehabilitate these hopeless men. He could only take a limited number each year, but he gave them a place to live, taught them a skill, got them off of drugs or glue, and helped them to get back on their feet, and most importantly he taught them about the things of God. When the men would graduate from his program, many of them reconciled with their families, and they were able to then turn around and mentor the next group of addicts. So many people would just walk by these guys, but one man knew he could help them find a better way of life. Kind of like Jesus did. He didn’t try to get away from the demon-possessed men, instead He set them free and gave them an opportunity to be restored. In every city, all around the world there are desperate people who are looking for hope. When we see them, will we turn away because of fear, disgust or pity, or will we offer them the freedom that we ourselves have experienced in Christ? Let’s take our example from Jesus and bring restoration into the lives of those we come into contact with.