by Susan Sampson

Are you tired of trying?  I am.  I can hear him say, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mat. 11:28-30).  I hear these words, but I can see that I’m still working.  Trying to do the right thing.  Trying to not make a mistake.  Trying to be good.  Trying, trying, trying.  Trying is not following.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:1-3).  It was such a refreshment to my soul as I heard the Lord speak to my heart through Laurie’s words about Psalm 63, “this is the pasture I led you to in order to care for you and feed you.”  Wow.  Our perfect and loving Shepherd led us all here!  To His Word.  This beautiful oasis in the midst of the dry and weary land we are living in.  The lush garden, the promised land of His Word.  Full of milk and honey.  Our daily bread.  Life giving, life sustaining.

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?  Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.  Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live…” (Isaiah 55:1-3a).  

I want to follow Jesus.  I desperately want Him to be my Beloved.  I desperately want to believe that I am His Beloved.  We can believe this.  We must believe this.  It is by faith that we choose to believe God’s words are truth.  We must put our doubts to death once and for all.  Crucify them.  “Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Tim. 6:12).   God’s Word is truth.  It is the Lord’s own words to us. His voice.

I don’t want to be shepherded anymore by my feelings.  Christ alone leads me to green pastures.  He is the Good Shepherd.  He is our Righteousness.  He is love.  Feelings lead us to darkness and despair.  It is Christ who rescued us from the dominion of this darkness.  Lord, help me to repent and follow you into the light.  “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13-14).  

The Lord shepherds us by His Word, His Spirit, the Body of Christ, and through prayer.  Let’s choose today whom we will serve; whom we will follow.  Let us follow our Good Shepherd each and every day to the pasture of His Word in Psalm 63.

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). 

I want to be free.  I want to fall in love again with my Lord.

Lord, meet each of us right where we are.  Help our unbelief.  Draw near to us in oneness as we draw near to you this semester.  Enable us by your grace to lay everything down at the foot of the cross in absolute surrender.  Compel us by your love to the shadow of your wings where we can sing for joy.

Thistlebend Quiet eMoment

by Laurie Aker

Focus Scripture: Luke 5:12-16 ESV

12 While he was in one of the cities,  
there came a man full of leprosy.
And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him,  
“Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”  
13 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him,  
saying, “I will; be clean.” 
And immediately the leprosy left him. 
14 And he charged him to tell no one,  
but “go and show yourself to the priest,
and make an offering for your cleansing,  
as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
15 But now even more the report about him went abroad,
and great crowds gathered to hear him  
and to be healed of their infirmities.
16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

Do you ever feel like you are covered with leprosy,
inside and out?

Has the Lord ever tapped you on the shoulder,
opened your eyes, spoken to you during your prayer time,
and revealed your sin to you as never before?

He is so gentle.
He is so loving.
He is so pure and holy.
The more light He sheds, the more you see your sin.

You don’t want to be sinful.

You don’t want to fear, but you do.
You don’t want to worry, but you do.
You don’t want to care what other people think of you.
You don’t want to crave that next candy bar, diet soda, or whatever.
You don’t want to fly off the handle, harbor a grudge,
“adjust” the truth, or hide your true self.
You don’t want to feel inferior, self-conscious, or inadequate,
but you find yourself spiraling downward,
beating yourself up, and wanting to give up.

However, when God opens your eyes to your sin and you see your sin
more as He sees it, even though it may feel just like
The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,
it is actually
The Very Awful, Terrible, So Good, Very Blessed Day!


Jesus is our Shepherd.
He has purpose in everything He allows, even your sin!
He is forming and shaping us into vessels of God’s glory.

The leper, full of leprosy,
came to Jesus and fell down on his face in front of Jesus,
and begged Jesus to make him clean.
What did Jesus do?
Did He shun him?
Did He sort of heal him?
Did He say to the leper, “Sorry your condition
is too repulsive, too extensive, and too severe?”

Do you need to see your sin as Jesus sees your sin?
Have you already (to some extent)?
Either way, fall on your face and beg him,
“Lord, if you will, you can make me clean!”

When the man cried out to Jesus, what did Jesus do?

Luke 5:13
And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him,  
saying, “I will; be clean.”
 And immediately the leprosy left him. 

1 John 1:9 
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just  
to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Nothing but the blood of Jesus can wash away our sin.
But it can.

All of it.


Write out the following passage from Luke 5 and recite it 3 times.
Take it with you throughout the day.

12 While he was in one of the cities,  
there came a man full of leprosy.
And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him,  
“Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”  
13 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him,  
saying, “I will; be clean.” 
And immediately the leprosy left him. 


Lord Jesus, please show me my sin as you see it.
Cleanse me from the leprosy of my iniquity.

In His hands for His glory,Laurie

by Scott Kaczorowski

I don’t know about you, but the Lord is really putting His finger on some difficult places in my life right now.  The process is painful.  Discipleship is hard.  But one of the things that struck me this week as I was doing the first week of the Falling in Love Again with Your Lord for Men study was the gentleness of Jesus as Lord.  Yes, He requires a great deal of those who would follow Him.  He requires everything.  But He is also tender and gentle with those who are His–like a shepherd with his sheep, or a father with his beloved child. Even as our Lord who has an absolute claim on our lives, He approaches us in tender gentleness, giving what we need to follow Him and holding us up and sustaining us on this journey.

One of the passages this week that the Lord really drove home to me was from Isaiah 57:18-19.  This is God’s promise to heal and forgive our sin and give us hearts that praise Him as we continue on this journey of discipleship: “I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners, creating the praise of the lips” (NASB).  May the Lord grant us lips that praise Him.