The Holy Spirit Sanctifies Us

“But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11

Most of us as Christians can say in a heartbeat that we were washed in the blood. We are grateful for what Jesus did on the cross for us. Because many of us when we become Christians can look back at our former selves and we realize where we might have ended up if not for Jesus washing us in the blood. However, I know a lot of people, myself included, either do not have a full grasp on what it means to be sanctified or have trouble with seeing ourselves in that light. Sanctification is a big word and almost sounds too HOLY to be used in the same sentence with ~~ my name. 

So I did the first thing that I usually do when I want to understand a word. I looked it up. Sanctified means to set apart as or declare holy. See there it is it is to declare holy. I can’t think of myself as holy? Can I? This verse says so. This verse is in essence saying we were washed, declared holy, and justified. I looked up justified too. Justified means having, done for, or marked by a good or legitimate reason.

So we know that sanctified means to be set apart as holy, but what does it really mean for us? When we come to Jesus and we are washed in the blood, we receive the Holy Spirit who takes away the desire to sin. But can we honestly say that when we are washed in the blood that we have the TEMPTATION to sin taken away immediately? I know I couldn’t and still can’t. Because I have the Holy Spirit in my heart I can honestly tell you that in my heart of hearts my desire is to never sin again. But I CAN’T honestly tell you that I don’t struggle with some sin every day. As I said yesterday, some of the sins in me have changed over time. Some I have slayed and moved on and yet and still there are always others that are there in my human flesh. So we were washed in the blood which took away the desire to sin, but we still have the process of walking it out. That’s where being sanctified comes in. {At least that’s the way my feeble mind seems to be grasping this verse.) 

To be sanctified is the process in which we are walking out our salvation. It’s where the transformation comes in. When we became Christians, we became His. The Holy Spirit moved in and started unpacking but we are still humans. We still have fleshly desires and thoughts and habits and ideas that we have carried around for a long time. So when the Spirit moves in, we have to start the process of putting away those fleshly desires and begin to live according to the Spirit’s leading and not the leading of what our flesh wants. 

“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 8:13-14

And this is when the Holy Spirit then starts the process of transforming us. His work is really just beginning. The whole point in walking out our salvation to sanctification is transformation. 

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:29

Once we are washed in the blood, God sees us in the image of His Son. That is done, but we are still in our flesh as long as we are on this earth. Therefore, we have to be sanctified, we have to be set apart as holy, and because we are flesh, this sanctification is a process in us. It doesn’t change how God sees us. He sees us as Holy because when He looks at us He sees His son. But the world will still see us as the fleshly people that we are. But what they really need is to see Jesus in us, so our sanctification, our setting apart as Holy, is not so that God will see us different, it’s so the world will see us different. It seems to me that the whole point of this sanctification is so that we will be a light for the world to see. A light that will make them want what we have. 

Therefore, because we are washed in the blood, and because of being washed in the blood, we are sanctified, set apart as Holy, on the day we leave this fleshly body we are justified, we are marked for a good and legitimate reason to be ushered into His presence, not because of us, but because of the work of the Holy Spirit in us. 

The Promised Holy Spirit

“And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said ‘you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” Acts 1:4-5 

Jesus was speaking with the Apostles. This was after His death and resurrection when He had appeared to the disciples and just before His ascension. His promise was, again, that they would receive the Holy Spirit as their guide and their helper and that He would be with them always. Up until this point they had learned from Jesus in the physical sense but they were about to have the Holy Spirit indwelling in them and they would learn from Him that way. And when they would have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit they would also have power from Him. Power to overcome what was in front of them, the power to witness, the power to live for Him. 

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Now here is the good news for us. We have the Holy Spirit too. The Holy Spirit was not just a promise for the disciples of Jesus day. If you are in Christ and Christ is in you, then you have the Holy Spirit and that means you have the power of the Holy Spirit living in you. 

“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:9-11

The best thing about being on this side of the cross, is that the Holy Spirit dwells in us once we give our lives over to Christ. That means that we have the power to overcome those fleshly desires and habits and things that are not for our good. Our bodies may be dead inside because of past sins or even today sins, but the Holy Spirit brings life to us because He gives us the power to overcome those past sins and even our today sins. I say “today sins” because we will all have sin in this fleshly body of ours until the day comes that we go home to glory. But with the Holy Spirit living in us we can recognize those sins, and repent of those sins and turn from them. That does not mean we will start being perfect and never sin again, but that we will always have the power to turn from them. What I mean is this, I can honestly say to you I have sin in my past that I don’t really have to worry about in me anymore. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, I have been able to turn from them and they are not a struggle anymore. That is not to say there are not more sins in my life that rear their ugly head that I may struggle with now. Nope! I am human and I have plenty that I still have to overcome. It just means that as I have grown and matured in my faith and have worked these things out with the Holy Spirit the sins I struggle with today are not the sins I struggled with in the past. It’s always going to be a process, but truthfully what a glorious process it is. As I learn from Him and love Him and know Him more and more, my faith has grown and I can discern His voice in my ear and I can feel His presence. 

You know many times I will say when studying Old Testament scripture that I don’t understand how they could not believe. They had things like burning bushes and pillars of fire. But you see one thing they did not have was the guarantee of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit in the Old Testament would sometimes rest on someone but could also be removed from someone. David prayed for God to not “remove” His spirit from him. (Psalm 51:11) The Spirit departed from Saul because of his disobedience. (1 Samuel 16:14) The Israelites could not have time with God themselves, they relied on Moses to communicate with God and to communicate with them. So when we judge them for all of the times they grumbled and complained, well we also need to remember they were following God, but they didn’t have His Spirit indwelling in them to give them the power that we have. I am so grateful to be able to have this relationship that I have with Him, through the Holy Spirit indwelling in me. He is with me always, He goes with me wherever I go, whatever I do. I am sure there have been times in my life where I didn’t necessarily listen for Him, or recognize His presence and I, so to speak, pushed Him into a corner of my heart. But He was there, from the first moment I asked Him into my heart he has always been there. It’s just up to me to listen to Him and to know His power in me. 


“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of Truth, comes he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16-12-15

Now in this passage Jesus was talking to the disciples. He was letting them know that they still had much to learn, but there was about to come a time they would not be learning from Him in the physical sense, but they would have the Holy Spirit who would teach them. I wonder too if He was specifically talking about His death on the cross when He said “but you cannot bear them now”. 

This passage also resonates with me when I read it. You see I am one of those people who thinks “just tell me what’s coming and I’ll deal with it!” But really could I? Would I? I think, as much as I hate it at times, life unfolds as it should one step at a time. We do know the end of the story as Christians, we know that our side wins in the end. But it’s the stuff between now and then that I THINK I want to know. 

The Holy Spirit living inside of us, tells us what the Father wants us to know. He knows the ways we should go. He can guide us, when we tune our ears to hear His voice. But we still have the free will to live our lives and to make decisions and to make mistakes and to succeed. If I knew how the story was going to unfold would I really make right decisions based on that knowledge or would I become so comfortable that I “knew” what was going to happen that I wouldn’t “need” the Holy Spirit to guide me therefore I would not spend the time in prayer that I should? This may sound like a lot of crazy rambling to you. But it’s really just me processing my own thoughts. You see I know me, and I really if I get down to it, I think that if I “knew” the story, I would become complacent and lazy. I would get that extra hour of sleep in the morning that my body craves. I would not spend the time that I need to laying my worries, my cares, my concerns, my life and my requests for my friends and families at the cross every day. You see I know that God’s got it. I know in my heart of hearts that the things that are worrying me, the things I care about, the concerns I have over the future, what is going on in my life and what is going on in the lives of those I care about that God has got it ALL. But when I come to Him every day, it’s so I can hear His voice. 

And you know what brings me such comfort is that He knows what I can bear and what I can’t. I know that He will have me when the thing that’s gonna hurt comes. I know that He will have me when the good things come. I know that He has me. He has got my back. He goes before me, and behind me and beside me and all around me and within me. But hearing His voice say to me go this way, or go that way is what I need daily. As I bring all those things to Him and I lay them down and I ask Him to guide me through this day, I know that I will be able to bear what is coming at me today. As it comes, when it comes and not a minute before. 

Oh Holy Spirit be my guide today and every day! 


Have you ever had to make a decision between two jobs? Or do you move to a new city or not? Or to start a new business venture? Or to write the book or not? Start the ministry or not? Take that volunteer position or not? Decisions can be hard sometimes and if you are like me and you hang out in your own head too much they can be even harder. But when you know Jesus, I mean really hang out with Him we have a helper who will counsel us in the way in which we should go. His name is Holy Spirit! 

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17

The reason I said “really hang out with him” is this. You see when you become a Christian, and you ask Jesus to come into your heart, The Holy Spirit moves right in. He is there, there is no kicking him out, you are sealed, bought with the price of Jesus blood. But to know His voice you must spend some time getting to know Him. The way to do this is to spend time in God’s word and studying God’s word. The more you study, the more you will be able to discern His voice above the noise of the world around you. We know the voices of the people we hang out with, don’t we? I could pick out my husband and children’s voices in a crowd. I have friends that I would know their voices in a room if I were blindfolded. I want to know the Holy Spirit like that too. And most of the time, I feel like I do. But there are times, when I think I am not sure. 

I read a verse in Isaiah this morning that I had highlighted so I know I have read it before but it brought me much comfort as I read it again this morning and felt like it was for the first time. 

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ When you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.’” Isaiah 30:21

I love that! When you tune your ears to hear His voice, He will show you the way. You will know AS you walk that you are walking in His way. He will show you the path. I have trouble sometime with the one step at a time of it. I tend to want the burning bush in front of me, or the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day. But we are in so much a better place than they were really because we have Him, we have His voice, we have His direction. He is with us in the day to day and He will guide us in the way to go. It may be one step at a time, and we may not can see the end of the road, but it is better because He is with us! 

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 

I know that for us planners that can feel like the hard road sometime, but the truth is it’s the better road. 

Lord, I pray as my anxious heart desires to know the way that you are taking me in this life, that I will remember that I don’t have to know what is at the end of the road. I just have to know You and to know Your voice and to know when You tell me to go to the right or to the left. 

God has a Plan for You!

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

This is one of those verses that is written out for graduation congratulations and baby announcements. I remember finding this verse very early in my walk with Jesus. Of course back then, I thought that if God had a plan for me and it was for my “welfare and not for evil” then it would mean that I should have a life of no pain whatsoever. Well, that was pretty immature and unrealistic thinking now wasn’t it? I do believe the verse to be true though I know I have not always consulted with God for His plans for my life. I have to say that I am blessed beyond what I could hope for but I don’t think I have always helped God along by seeking His plans for me as much as I have asked Him to bless my plans for me. I wonder sometime what my life would have been like if I had consulted with Him all those many years ago for what His plans for me were. Rather than going my own way and expecting Him to bless me. He did bless me in spite of my old stubborn self. But I do wish I would have earlier on asked God’s direction for my life rather than just go my own way and expect Him to follow. 

However, as long as we have breath in our bodies it’s never too late to ask God for direction for our lives. This verse was originally written to the exiled Jews in Babylon. They probably thought their life was over as they were exiled in Babylon and they probably many times felt forgotten by God. This was encouragement from Jeremiah to them that God had not forgotten them and that He had a future in mind for them. This can also be applied to us. I know we all may go through seasons where we wonder if God has forgotten us. 

Friends let’s be encouraged today that this is a truth we can stand on. God has a plan for our future. This plan is for hope and it is not for evil. What are you hoping for? Do you feel stuck like you are in your own type of exile? Do you feel like you have made a mess of God’s plans for your life? Turn it over to Him and ask Him to lead you and guide you into your purpose and plan. We all still have work to do here which means God still has a plan for a future and hope for you! Whether you are young or old, whether you are healthy or sick, whether you are able to run miles every day or bedridden, if you are still here, I believe God has a plan for you. I heard of a woman once who was bedridden and she started a business from her bed sending out encouragement to people all over the world. It started with just some simple notes she wrote to people she knew. Her writing was so touching and her delivery was so special that people began to ask her to send things out for them to other people that they wanted to encourage. She was laying in bed asking God if He had forgotten her and she got the idea to bless a few people if for not other reason to make herself feel better and her small business grew from the idea. How cool is that!

Lord, I pray that you will show us our future and hope. God as long as there is breath in my body I know that you have a plan for me. I pray that you will reveal that plan to me as I walk in it straight to my future and hope! 

Like Trees Planted by Water

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

This verse has always been a favorite of mine and when I ran across it this morning in my time with Jesus, my mind kept returning to it even after my study took me somewhere else. I have found that is one of the ways the Lord teaches me and is trying to get me to pay particular attention to something is by bringing it to me over and over. 

I like to think many times I don’t have trust issues when it comes to the Lord. (How pious can I be?) But if I’m truthful, I am as double-minded and wishy washy as they come. If I didn’t truly have trust issues, would I really be waking in the middle of the night not able to get things I worry about off my mind? Would I really be ringing my hands and fretting over what is going to happen next? No, it turns out I’m human too (HA) and can tend to give myself over to worry as quickly as the next person. I have mentioned before that sometime I picture myself with a big sack of things I am worried about and have my concern. I will literally picture myself dragging this sack of worrisome things to the cross and I will take them out one by one and lay them at the feet of Jesus. It sometimes surprises me when I realize that as the day has gone on I have picked those things up one by one and put them back in my sack and that is why I have to lay them down again. But then again, also I know me. If I could really lay them down once and not pick them up again, would I really return to the cross again and again to lay them down. 

I love the picture that this verse gives me. Have you ever noticed that the trees and the vegetation that grow near water are always beautiful and lush and green. The roots run deep and they never seem to have brown, withered, dying leaves. A direct version of this verse is also found in Psalms. 

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3

It seems that it’s possible Jeremiah had access to the Psalmists words of this verse and he had taken them to heart to have quoted some of the same words. The Psalmist takes the thought even deeper than Jeremiah. The Psalmist is telling us, that in order to keep your trust in the Lord, you can’t keep company with the wicked. What I think he is saying is that you must be careful who and what you are surrounding yourself with. Now we know that we are to live in this world and we are to be a light to a dark world. But if all you do is keep company with those who aren’t walking with the Lord, those people who are negative and complaining all the time, then you will fall into the trap as well. 

The Psalmist says that the man whose delight is the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates days and night will be like the tree planted by the water. If we are to be like that tree, we have to be intentional about having time with Jesus and we need to be careful what we are filling our mind and our time with as the day goes on. I love God’s word, and I love studying it, but I can also be guilty of reading and walking away and by the time I get to work in the morning I can’t always tell you what I read or studied. But when I really think on it, and I fill my mind with His word I do a better job of standing firm like that tree. So how do we do that? How do we keep our mind focused to “meditate on it day and night”. 

When I feel like I am truly in a spiritual battle over something I especially will do things to fill my mind with His word all day long. I will listen to praise and worship music in my background even at work. I will listen to sermons on podcasts. Even if I don’t hear every word, when it is running in my background, I notice that my thoughts are not turning to the negative and worry quite so much. I truly know that when my mind is having a tendency to wander to the negative thoughts and worry that if I keep my praise music in my background that my roots are running deeper.

Oh how I want to be like that tree, planted by the water, roots running deep, and yielding fruit for Him. I do not want to wither and fret and worry over the things concerning me, but to know that God’s got this, He’s got me and He’s got the things that concern me. I want to trust Him! I want what I set my heart and mind on to prosper! 

Be Still My Soul

If you live anywhere in the South you had to endure storms at some time during the past couple of days. Here in Mississippi, our day was yesterday, as was Louisiana and Arkansas. Alabama got the overnight shift. I’m sorry to my friends in Alabama as much as I hate storms, nighttime storms are the worst, because it’s harder to see what’s coming. New Orleans was also hit after dark last night, and Texas the day before. So this morning as I sit and have my time with Jesus this morning, I am grateful for the peace and calm after the storm. And I am praying for those who had structures damaged and have clean up to do. But I am grateful I haven’t heard about loss of life from this one. 

My thoughts this morning, while I am grateful for the peace and calm, are also on people I know who are in the midst of big decisions and not quite sure which road to take and what will open up for them. Also of some people who are hurting because their whole world is rocked because the way they thought life would go for them is not going quite the way they had planned. I have friends who have lost spouses this year, friends who have lost children. I have friends whose work lives have been turned upside down, friends who are battling cancer, and well we have all dealt with the way things are different because of covid, etc. etc. I don’t think of myself as someone who is particularly rigid and has to have a plan all the time, but I do like regular routines and for things to stay “between the ditches” so to speak. I am not a huge fan of change, especially changes that are unknown or upsetting. 

At times like these when my thoughts get so jumbled, I can have a tendency to start worrying and getting anxious over things and people and places and I have to remind myself to bring it all back to the cross and lay it down before Him and that I don’t have to know the way, I just have to know the Waymaker. There is a song that I sang a verse of in a choir concert years ago in my church and at times when my heart starts going off the rails, I will sing this verse over and over in my head. 

Be Still My Soul, 

God knows your way, 

And He will guide, 

For His name’s sake, 

Plunge in the rivers of His grace, 

Rest in the arms of His embrace! 

I love that verse of that and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to sing it all those years ago, as it has burned in my mind and my heart and I have been able to recall it so many times. When my heart is troubled, Be Still My Soul. When I am not sure of my next steps, I can always remember that God knows the way and that if I keep putting my trust in Him and I give Him the glory and the praise especially, that He will guide me for His name’s sake. And most of all that I can plunge into His grace, I can live from His grace, I can receive grace and I can give grace and when I live from that grace, it is resting in His embrace. 

One of my favorite verses is found in Matthew 11:28. And while I like to use the ESV, NIV or NKJV when I study, I often read in the Message or the Passion Translation just to get a basic feel for the verse. Some of those read so beautiful as does this verse in The Message. 

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

So this morning, or today, or whenever you read this, what is consuming your thoughts and worries today? You may be having to clean up after the storm. You may be trying to plan out a future, you may be battling an illness or trying to figure out how to put one foot in front of the other after a loss. If you are take a few minutes and still your soul and spend some time with your Savior who will guide you for His name’s sake. When you keep company with Him, you will learn how to live freely and lightly! 

Faithful Friends 

I’m reading through the book of Mark during my quiet time right now. I had someone on a podcast mention the book of Mark and how it is not necessarily one of the more studied gospels. One thing I am noticing already about Mark is that this book gets right to the point. There is no big story about Jesus’ birth. It jumps right into John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus, goes straight to the baptism of Jesus, the temptation of Jesus and Jesus beginning His ministry in the first chapter. He has already begun gathering his disciples and started His healing and His teaching ministry. I guess Mark is kind of like my husband, get to the point, there is no need for a lot of fluff.  I personally tend to like the fluff of a story, it drives my husband crazy.  Anyway….

In the 2d chapter of Mark, Jesus has returned to Capernaum and word has spread that He is home. Apparently the people were trying to get to Him, so commentary points out that instead of Jesus being on the street where people would be trying to get at Him for healing, He was inside a building to teach and preach. I want to look at the characters of this passage. 

First there was the crowd, the cast of extras so to speak. 

“And many were gathered together so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them.”  Mark 2:2

At this point in Jesus’ ministry it appears that He was attracting crowds. But rather than being on the streets where people would want the healing and possibly to go their way, Jesus wants to be sure that the people are learning something too. So He positions Himself to teach them by being indoors where maybe the coming and going isn’t as easy. My thoughts here are that Jesus desires for the crowd to be able to take something with them when they leave. How easy it would be on the streets for them to get close enough to see the healing ministry of Jesus and maybe even to be amazed by it, but to carry on without a thought to why Jesus was in the business of healing. That what He was really after was their heart. 

Then let’s look at the four friends. We all need friends like these guys. They wanted to carry their friend right up to Jesus to ask Jesus to do something for their friend. And their tenacity in it showed. 

“And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.” Mark 2:4

These 4 friends were so set on getting their friend to Jesus that they tore off the roof in order to do so. I guess in my mind, I always just thought that maybe this was a room with no roof, but it had never occurred to me before that they had to tear into the roof above Him. And when I read in commentary, they would have had to cause quite a stir and actually tear into it. They had a determination and a faith in bringing their friend to Jesus. Have you ever brought your friends to Jesus with that kind of determination. I hope I am that kind of friend to my friends that need and ask for prayer. We may not be able to physically carry our friends to Jesus these days but we can certainly carry our friends to Jesus in prayer. When our friends ask us for prayer, are we carrying them like these four friends carried their paralytic friend, with the tenacity they showed, tearing off roofs if we have to on behalf of our friends. 

The next character in the story is the paralytic man. 

“And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’” Mark 2:5

What? The paralytic’s friends thought they were bringing their friend to Jesus to be healed so that he could walk again and the first thing that Jesus does is forgive his sins. That right there is a picture of the fact that Jesus is always after the heart first. The physical healing, the emotional healing, the financial healing, really any healing, comes after the heart healing. One thing I learned a long time ago in some hard seasons of life is not just to pray to get through the hard season but to ask the Lord what He wanted to teach me in the hard season. Jesus wants to go with us through those hard seasons so that our hearts are in a different place on the other side, not just for the sake of getting through them. 

The Pharisees are also characters in this story. 

“‘Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’” Mark 2:7

I don’t want to be like the Pharisees in this story, but there are always Pharisees in every story aren’t there? The Pharisees are the naysayers, the ones who will question your faith and who will tear you down if you aren’t careful. 

And then there was Jesus, the main character of the gospel story! Jesus has forgiven the man’s heart and then He heals the man physically too. 

“‘But you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ – he said to the paralytic – ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.’” Mark 2:10-11

There are so many characters in this story, and I have found myself in several roles. I’ve been one of the crowd, where I felt like I was on the sidelines watching others. I’ve been the friend who carried my friends in prayer. I have felt almost paralyzed at times in some hurts that I have been the paralytic that my friends carried in prayer. Unfortunately, I’ve also been the pious Pharisee, the naysayer, I don’t like it when I am that person. What about you? Can you find yourself in this story. I want to be the friends who carry, I want the kind of faith that I will tear down walls or roofs or whatever for my friends to carry them to the feet of Jesus. I’m grateful to have been the friend who was carried. I pray that I stay away from being the naysayer and almost as bad, that I will not be just one of the crowd. 

Lay It All Down

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)

I know I have claimed many many verses in scripture as “my favorite” but this one, this truly may be my very very favorite verse of all time!!  It blows me away every time I read it. I quoted it here in the NKJV because I so love this wording “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”. That is truly amazing isn’t it? That means better than you can even imagine yourself. 

I can honestly say to you I have had it happen. I have had situations I prayed for and I gave God a play by play in my book and it turned out way better because He didn’t follow my plan but His. There are so many times that I have been so grateful to God that He didn’t answer my prayers the way I asked because what I ended up with was better than I could have ever thought.  

So why is it, that I still in my hard headedness want to take things into my own hands and I want to give Him the play by play of how I think things are to work out? I am not sure why I still do that. I have seen Him work, I know His power. I know He has better thoughts than me and I know that He has better plans than me and I know that He has a better way than me. I think I am a little like the father of the child in Mark that cries out “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” But still, I say to Him “Lord, I know you can handle this, but this is how I want you to handle it.” “Lord I know you can heal, but this is how I want you to do it.” Why do I have to relearn my lessons over and over again? 

I am so glad that God is patient with me and loves me anyway. So again this morning I am going to drag my big bag of burdens that I picked up yesterday all day long as the day went on and I am going to lay them at the foot of the cross and I am going to say. 

Lord, I have this thing, that is hurting my heart, this thing I am concerned about, but I know that you have a better way, you have a better plan, you have better thoughts than me and I want to lay them down to You and I want You to do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond anything my mind can imagine! And I will give You all that glory right now! 


And they Marveled! 

I hate storms! I particularly hate storms in the middle of the night! And I really particularly hate storms in the middle of the night when I am in my house by myself. I was awakened at 4:00 am by my weather radio letting me know we were under a tornado watch. Since the weather radio is in the living room, I have spent my morning in the living room where I could hear the weather radio if it goes off again and we have had some horrific thunderstorms this morning. Luckily, it didn’t go off again for a tornado, but went off a couple more times to warn me of the coming thunderstorm. 

As I sat and listened to the thunder and watched the sky light up by the lightning outside my windows, I was very grateful to be In my house. I thought of the story of the disciples and Jesus in a boat going to the other side and a storm came up. 

“One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake and they were filling with water and were in danger.” Luke 8:22-23

Now personally, I don’t blame the disciples for being afraid. I can tell you I am not just shaking with fear when there is a thunderstorm going on outside but I have a healthy respect for them. I don’t like them. And the last place I would want to be is in a boat crossing even my lake where I can see the other side when a storm came up. I would definitely be afraid. 

“And they went and woke him, saying ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm.” Luke 8:24

The disciples were afraid because of the wind and the waves and they woke Jesus up and with a word He calmed the storm. Yesterday we touched on the fact that even if Jesus doesn’t calm the wind and the waves in your world that He can calm you. Actually, I misspoke, I said “if Jesus can’t”. Jesus always can and I think that’s what bothers us sometimes is that we know He can and sometimes He doesn’t. We know that with a word, whatever is hurting us, or causing confusion, or calamity in our life, that Jesus could say the word and it all be over. But sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes He allows the hurt to continue and sometimes it feels like it goes on and on and on and ~ on. And it’s hard to understand. But we have to know too that He is sovereign and that His goal and purpose in each and every storm of our life is that we will find Him. 

After Jesus calmed this particular storm he responded to the disciples. 

“He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water and they obey him?’” Luke 8:25

The disciples were afraid of the storm and then the disciples were just as afraid after Jesus calmed the storm. They had seen the fullness of God! They saw Jesus’ humanity, in that he slept because his human self was tired. And they saw Him actually speak to a storm and calm it down. I love that this version says “and they marveled”. They knew Him, they had walked with Him, they had listened to Him as He taught, and they had already seen miracles, and yet they didn’t truly believe that they were going to get one themselves. He marveled them! 

What has He marveled you with? He has marveled me with so much over the years. I have had prayers that He has answered in such ways that I marvel and I have also had storms He has taken me through instead of calming them in the midst. But one thing I know is that if I am in His presence, even if He doesn’t calm my winds and waves He can calm me. I’m grateful that the storms this morning have almost passed. And they are saying it is going to end up being a beautiful day here after they pass completely. I am also grateful for the storms of my life He has carried me through and the storms of my life that He is still making a way for me to walk through. I am marveled by His grace and His peace in my life but I can only feel them if I keep my eyes fixed on Him, on the one who calms my storms! Won’t you ask Him to marvel you today too!