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A Complete Restoration

I am learning something about myself.

I have always considered myself a “people-pleaser”. Not in the negative connotation that is so often associated with the phrase, but in a more, “I care about you” attitude.

I have often said, and meant, I want people to leave me feeling better about themselves or their day; feeling better about their life and a God who loves them. I want people to walk away with a skip in their step and a song in their heart and I realize that sounds a bit “Snow White” but it is the truth. I want to leave an impression, a positive impression that leaves some wondering, “what is her secret?” And then they would learn I am a Christian and then they would want what I have. Guess what? It doesn’t always work that way.

But here is the thing I am learning about myself. (Can I be complete honest with you?) I want all that and more! but I want it at arm’s length. I want to be in just enough of your life to inspire you or comfort you with my written word or spoken word, with a song or a shared poem, but I don’t want to be intimately involved in the mess that is your life. After all, I have enough mess of my own.

I will let you get close to me, but not too close. I will invite you to come close and even closer still, but there will come a time when I hold up an outstretched arm, with the palm of my hand facing you, as if to say, “stop, no closer”.

It’s not because I don’t like you, it’s because I am afraid once you get to know me, the real me, you won’t like me. It’s easier…no, it’s safer, to do relationship that way.

Aren’t you glad that is not how Jesus does relationship?!

Not only did He say, I want people to leave Me feeling better about themselves and their day; feeling better about their life and better about Me and My Father who sent Me. Not only did He say, I want people to walk away with a skip in their step and a song in their heart” Not only did Jesus say all of that, but He also said, I am going to not only visit them, but I am going to live with them. I am going to move in and I am going to get dirty alongside them.

John 1:14 tells us that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Why? This planet was, and is, such a dirty little planet. Why would The Word leave heaven and all it offered, for us?

“…During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He eliminated a great deal of suffering. The Bible tells us “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.’” Our Savior not only healed all kinds of diseases, He healed the possessed…

Despite what you think, our God longs to bless us. He wants our undivided trust so that He can be gracious to us and too often we don’t give this to Him because we are impatient. God waits and we too must wait. Want to know the beautiful part? He is ready and wants to be merciful to us.

The Lord wants our hearts. The Bible tells us “My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways” (Proverbs 23:26).

God’s grace is always present to a heart that seeks Him. When this relief comes to us, our hearts are flooded with love. We feel liberated from everything that binds us. When we truly give our hearts to God, we will be able to freely give whatever is required by the Spirit. The beautiful thing about giving our hearts to Him is that we can give them anew to God each day. When we do this, things no longer seem strange and unpleasing.

The Bible tells us, “Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; His love endures forever” (Jeremiah 33:11). With His help, there is nothing we can’t handle, even when there is so much that is not good that is also present in this world.

Despite the adversity that may be there, God’s goodness shines on us again and again and again. It is important that we thank the Lord, for He is good…

It’s important that during the trials of our life we take refuge in God who guards our lives. Psalm 86:2 says, “Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in You. You are my God.” When we are sick, matters can get so hopeless that we feel like giving up. In our weariness and helplessness, we think that God doesn’t want to help us. But God is the guardian of our lives. We must hold onto our faith, firmly. We know from Scripture the importance of taking refuge in Him…

Life can be difficult. Despite our setbacks, including illnesses and ailments, we are loved by God…He sent His son to us so that the world might be saved through Him. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what love is…” (source: - Author Lesli White)

No matter what is going on in your life. No matter how messy or how dirty, Jesus is there. He will send His Spirit to comfort you. He longs to have a relationship with you. He is not afraid to get close and let you see who He really is.

I saw a church sign that read, “Come as you are; leave changed”.

That’s our Jesus. He beckons you to come close and closer still. He is not afraid of the real you. He longs for you to know Him as intimately as He knows you. It does not matter to Him what you are or who you are, He only wants to heal you and change your life forever. He wants to give you a complete restoration. Will you let Him?

by Jeanette Stark – Monday, December 5, 2022

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