The Outcast: The Paralytic and His Friends

Four people came, carrying a paralyzed man. Since they could not get to Jesus because of the crowd, they dug a hole in the roof right above where he was speaking. When they got through, they lowered the mat with the paralyzed man on it. When Jesus saw the faith of these people, he said to the paralyzed man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.” – Mark 2:3-5

Reading this account in Mark’s Gospel concerning this sick man, his friends, and Jesus -our Healer and Savior, we all can relate on some level. These men were not only friends. They were good friends who were determined, which is evident, as they brought this man to Jesus. Do we bring our friends to Jesus? We all have friends who are going through hard times on some level. How can we be there for them? These men genuinely cared and would do anything and go anywhere for this man/ These friends were not brought down by this man’s paralyzed body, but they were spurred on. They knew their friend needed them, and stayed there for him…

For whatever reason, these friends did not leave his side. They were the kind of friends who would go above and beyond what many others would do for him, and were really there for him. Today, how can we become these kinds of friends?

  • Stay connected to them (aware of their struggles, needs, upcoming doctor appointments, or tests, etc).
  • Be in prayer for them.Have a short visit with them (if they are up for it).
  • Send them a facebook message. It is easy to allow not knowing what to say, to prevent us from saying anything at all. Here are some ideas  on what you can say:
    • “How are you feeling today?”
    • “Thinking of you.”
    • “I am praying for you.”
    • “I am going to the store. Can I bring you anything?”
  • Volunteer to bring their family dinner (it helps!).
  • Send a small note in the mail (everyone loves getting mail).

All of us are someone’s friend. We would consider ourselves a good friend to some,but an acquaintance of others. But with God’s help, we can aspire to be a better friend. A friend like these men were. Trusting that God can help us to be a better friend.

This Week: Be in prayer, and consider how you can be there for the sick in you know.

See Hebrews 10:24


The Gift of Self-Control

lysaI am coming to realize my need for self-control. It keeps me from flying off the handle at anyone and everyone. I am noticing it is a daily thing that spares me from unnecessary situations and consequences that I desperately want to avoid.

Self-control.  Just like God’s grace, it is something God uses to hold me together—even in my most broken of places.

Life in general can make us lash out even at those we love. Sometimes, we may even feel like they somehow deserve it. It doesn’t make our actions any less important. It doesn’t even excuse what we do. We are still just as accountable to God, than if it just randomly happened with absolutely no trigger.

What are our triggers that make us lack self-control?
Can you list two to three triggers?

Think of your last few days. It doesn’t take too long to
recall of an instance where you almost forgot about the gift that God
through His Holy Spirit has given you—self-control.

Can’t think of anything?
Wait until you finish reading this post, and
life comes at you in a matter of minutes.

Take note of those triggers. If you are anything like me, you have many triggers. Not feeling well, emotionally overwhelmed, bad news, what I like to refer to as an introvert crisis, and  much more.

Even though we may almost fly off the handle, we can choose differently. It is because of God and His rich grace, that we can make different choices. It’s by His grace (not ours) that we are saved. We will have our days filled with flaws, where we will say and do things we shouldn’t. It doesn’t excuse those moments, but God’s grace is so rich. We can come boldly to the throne of God and ask for His forgiveness. Right there, we are forgiven.

I can choose to use that gift from God through His Holy Spirit to help me make wiser decisions. It is in these wiser decision-making moments, that I can share God’s grace and aim to be a light to a darkened world.

As I contemplate what I could possibly share from my awareness of God’s gift of self-control in my life, God’s grace is brightly shining in my face as I look past my yesterday’s and look onward toward tomorrow. In God’s rich mercies, I am given so much. Not only am I given much, I can also pass that on and share much. I can choose to listen to others when they interrupt my quiet world. I can choose to pray for someone, instead of screaming my lungs out at them (it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for). I can choose to give love through my actions, versus going through the motions. I can take a step back, so I may offer encouragement—even when I feel like my needs are ignored. I can choose to offer my gifts or time to others, rather than keep them to myself.

From Grave Clothes to New Life.

eph14Today, I hope…that I have been a better witness, Christ-like example, better person to be around, because of my quiet time. I hope… that I was different than I could have been today, because I had my time with Jesus, to allow Him to pour into me! Today has been an interesting one, but isn’t it always? Someone does something to you, and you try not to retaliate. I can try to be friendly, but it is only with Christ working in and through me that it actually shines through. In my own strength, I simply cannot do it. I get bitter. I get anger. That is simply how I in my own sinful nature work. Let me share some of the thoughts bouncing around my head from today.

1. Setting aside my “grave clothes”. This came up, as I read a devotional. I can hold onto things from my past…things that are long gone. Clothes that should have been taken off before now, as I have made new in Christ Jesus!

2. This devotional and meditation time bounced me to Ephesians 2. I love chapter two of Ephesians… Really. I really do. God can turn someone who is pretty much dead in all sense of the word, and make them aliveAlive in Christ!

3. Life happened!

Then, the prayer: “Lord, please help me!”

About this point, I had to decide what I would do. One of the things that I wanted to be about this week was James 1:19 (my goal list for this week). Seems a bit nerdy to have to make it a goal to be nicer to people, more genuine, and deliberate in the kind of interactions I have with others….but if it keeps me reminded about it… Well then, that is a good thing…isn’t it?

So finally sit down, weak from the encounter called life just happened…Meanwhile, Ephesians 4:32 is being put on my heart. I should look that verse up. It is probably one I need to read. You probably know the feeling. It is a simple, but profound way of being obedient to the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, the first step of obedience is really opening our Bibles. We need to be obedient, and it has to begin with seeking Him in His Word…and following through in being a doer of the Word. Upon looking it up, He is speaking to me. It may not have illicit an automatic noticeable reaction, but God’s words are speaking to me. I am praying for Him to help me. As hard as it is, we have to forgive those people who wrong us, hurt us, etc.

In Ephesians 2  and 4, Paul makes the point that there should be a distinction. One thing that really sticks out is that, we have to make the full resolve to not think like others or act like them. We are called to be different. In every instance. We are called to be different. We are called to God’s glory. We are called to be more like Him. We are called to not be like everyone else, but to let His radiant light shine. We were once completely dead, and it is now that we are made alive.

Alive in Christ Jesus!
We can experience freedom like never before.
Freedom where our heavy burdens are finally gone.
Pure joy that we have never experienced before.
No longer emotionally or spiritually numb.
We are truly alive!
Vibrant, breathing, and free to celebrate.
To celebrate who we are in Christ Jesus!
To celebrate how He has woven us together!
To celebrate His love for us!
To celebrate Jesus Christ coming for us!
To celebrate Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins!
To celebrate Jesus Christ’s powerful Resurrection!
To celebrate…for a lifetime!
Nothing can ever take me from His hands!

So, that is what my focus is on today. I hope. That’s where it needs to be. As I see my day being nearer to ending, that’s where my focus needs to remain.
How have you gotten alone with Jesus today? What Bible verses are you taking time to meditate on? How can we build one another up?