The Man I Met {You Can Meet Him Too}

Today, I am met with a man. A man who probably isn’t that much different from me. In Luke 5, we meet a man who is covered with leprosy. The disease has ran its course, and reached its capacity.

. . . And, he is sicker than he has ever been.

The Emotions

 It so happened that, as Jesus was in one particular town, there was a man whose body was riddled with a virulent skin disease. When he saw Jesus, he fell on his face. ‘Lord,’ he begged, ‘if you want, you can make me clean.’ – Luke 5:12

Illness brings heavy emotions, difficulty thinking, and crazy sleeping patterns, which admittedly is on top of the “typical” symptoms of our health issue.

While emotions can be beautiful and exhilarating, it can be a heavy burden to carry as well.

The emotions might be worse than the actual medical condition. It sticks to our side like glue, and reminds us of what we do not have. It reminds us of the past we cannot go back to, where we once had our family/friends and a place to call home.

. . . This is what this leper faced, and the reality for many of us on a daily basis. 

The life we once knew is – dissolved. Our new life is confusing. And, rarely understood by those nearest to us. They know not the debilitating emotions we struggle with. Even if it is suffocating, others often do not see the enormous burden we carry.

. . . But there is One who knows exactly what we face, as He is the only One who can carry us through this mess!

The Jesus I Know

I appreciate this man who is known only by his debilitating condition, because he knew the struggle, experienced the heavy emotions, and went running to King Jesus! He ran until he reached Jesus, because he knew Jesus is the answer.

. . . Jesus loved him {and us} and delights in taking care of us {just as He delighted in caring for this broken man}.

This Jesus is the same one who holds my heart. Jesus came, went to the cross, died and rose again to be with me. So, I may have peace with my Father.

My heart is safely held by Jesus, even on my worst day.

. . . He is my Protector, Comforter, and Friend.


This man encountered Jesus, and was changed.

Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘I do want to,’ he said. ‘Be clean.’ And the skin disease disappeared immediately. – Luke 5:13

Honestly, this is enough to bring me to my knees. The man ran to Jesus, and was wholly welcomed as he was. We are, too.


Our Invitation

Just as Jesus welcomed this man, we are welcomed and invited to come running to Him right now. We don’t have to wait until x, y, and z resolves itself. We can come to Jesus right now.

. . . Jesus invites us to come to Him. Weariness, heavy circumstances, and all, we are invited to simply come to Him.

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Finding Captivating Love {Devotion}

While this post is over a year old, it is worth making sure its contents are shared with all of you – my lovely readers who are dearly loved by our heavenly Father. Allow it to soak into your spirit, help you draw nearer to Jesus Christ, our King, and ponder the truths of our great God and His Word!


Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance (1 Peter 1:1-2).

In 1 Peter 1:2, we learn a few interesting things.

  • God has a purpose regarding us.
  • We are chosen.
  • We have been made holy.
  • We have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb (that is, Jesus Christ).
  • Grace and peace are ours in full measure.

The question I want us to answer today is….

How are you at living out these basic precepts that make up the Christian faith? It can take some of us many years to finally grasp the fact that we are –

  • on God’s mind (that He has a purpose for us!)
  • chosen by God alone (and it has nothing to do with our works)
  • cleansed (really cleansed) by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus, the Messiah!)
  • God’s grace and peace are completely poured onto every aspect of our lives, if we will allow God to do it!

What would our lives look like if we really grasped these truths? What would my life look like, if I really knew that I was loved by my Savior? Not a conditional kind of love that is based on what I do or don’t do, what expectations I completely miss by a long-shot, and any other human measure I can concoct in my mind.

Jesus loves, really loves, me and you. To such an extent that He came to earth.

Think about what kind of longing that would take.

“I am going to earth, to redeem them.”

“I will be forsaken, unloved, hated in fact, punished for what THEY did (for our sin, and He did it with such amazing love), and I am going to BRING them back. I am going to FIX our broken relationship, because I dearly love them and created them.”

This is true, friends.
Our reality.

God’s love is passionate. He is absolutely for us! And, this is the kind of love that God has for each one of us.

There is this song I reheard at a conference, but it took on a whole new meaning while there. “Live Like You’re Loved (Hawk Nelson)”. What would it take for me to live like God loves me? Not on some mini-level. We are talking about a football stadium, out of this world, full blown confidence, kind of love that God has for each of us.

The love of God is beyond anything we could ever comprehend.

We could take all of the oceans of the world, line them up next to each other, and it still wouldn’t even come close to the greatness of God’s love for us. All He wants is to be with us. To spend time with us. It’s a relationship!

Announcement: August/Sept SW Challenge

Hey friends!

Yesterday, I shared a couple pretty big blog announcements. The first was concerning a new Scripture Writing challenge, that I am excited to begin with you (more on that, in a moment).

Also, I shared a brand new opportunity I have been given – to write for Servants of Grace. My first article is now available on SOG’s website, so you will want to check it out. It is appropriately titled “The Gospel and Community”. We know, in Scripture, community is an influential part of the Christian life. So, join me – as we begin to talk some about God’s design for our relationships (and why we need the Church).

Scripture Writing Challenge – The Chapter –

With that said, let’s get back to our Scripture Writing Challenge. I promised you, details. And, I am here to deliver those precious details.

Over the next 4 weeks, we are studying Isaiah 40. Inside this one chapter, we learn a great deal about God and His character. This is a chapter, which God can use to radically alter our perception of God and who He truly is. We don’t have to settle for what God might be like.

But, we can truly know God – and walk in a relationship with Him. Because of His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus came, to die on the cross for our sins and rose again. When Jesus resurrected, He did many amazing things – including giving us new life. I want us to explore what this new life can look like, for us, as followers of Jesus Christ.

The Details

Unlike our Ephesians’ study (Walking into the Light), this study is written a bit differently. The biggest difference is the timing. Ephesians was a daily, six week, study. This study is a four week study, but each week has five lessons. Additional Scriptures are shared, to help us “go deeper” in our study of knowing God.

This might throw us off a bit, because our Sept/Oct study is written exactly like Walking into the Light.

The study will begin on the 8th of August. For the blog and social media, each week will go from Monday to Friday. My hope is to blog some through this experience, so I can soak up all God is showing me through this Spirit-filled chapter!

Resources

Below, you will find two resources you might want to grab to help you in your study time: The schedule and journal. I am very much looking forward to our study together, and I hope you will join us on the blog and social media!

Reading Schedule

Study Guide

Social Media Links

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

I mentioned our new study, Gleaning from the Heart of Jesus. It begins in September, and will run for nine weeks covering Matthew 4-7. You will equally love this study as well. I invite you to join us, as we prepare for it – as well… As an Amazon affiliate, using this link allows you to help support my blog with any Amazon purchase you make.

Holding Onto His Teachings {& Our Faith}

I am not one who typically has dreams. Or at least, not that I can remember. Yet in today’s, the heart of God is churning my spirit.

I met Jesus in my dream today. He was carrying my cross and crown of thorns pressed into His skull. Yet as He did this, life was going on all around him in a marketplace type setting.  With the image in my head, I must ask ~ How can we go on in life, without recognizing Jesus Christ, His gift of salvation, and His intense pursuit for us? Then a second time, when I woke up, I was reminded of my loving Savior, who fights for me and ushers me into His presence… and the Holy Spirit whispered “hold onto My teachings”.

Essential Truth

In the book of John, we are reminded that Jesus’ teachings are extremely important. Jesus is God in the flesh. His teachings determine the course of our lives (see Prov. 4:23, 16:9). That’s why those who obey Jesus’ teachings by faith are called His disciples.

“So Jesus was saying to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word [continually obeying My teachings and living in accordance with them, then] you are truly My disciples. (John 8:31, emphasis mine, AMP).”

It isn’t enough to believe Jesus once, and move on to whatever “thing” is going on in our lives. We are taught right here, that we need to keep believing. We need to keep holding onto Jesus and His perfect teachings.

His Authority

Jesus holds all authority over heaven and earth (see Mt. 28:18). He is our great Savior who came for us (see Jn. 1:14). Spending time with Jesus Christ is the most significant thing we could do.

Jesus is the One with the ability to transform us and our circumstances! But, He wants to start with our hearts.

Knowing Jesus Takes Effort

We need to keep allowing Christ to pursue us, and take Him at His Word. We have the blessing of spending time in the Word of God, His Presence, and in prayer – to cause our relationship with Him to absolutely flourish (see Ps. 1).

As we continue to trust in Jesus Christ, our Risen Savior, holding onto His teachings reveals that we are His. It is showing the world that we belong to Jesus Christ – the Eternal One. It shows the world that our faith is not in circumstances, rather it is in the Author of life itself – God, through His Son Jesus Christ!

In the midst of life and circumstances, I think it is easy to forget what is at stake.

God wants to speaks to us.

He wants us to see His Word is alive and well.

He wants us to know that He is far greater!

We cannot forget the cross that was carried on our behalf, despite its shame (see Heb. 12:2). Friends, the temptation to get caught up in today – is very present. But, let your relationship with Jesus Christ stand as the most important thing in your life!

 

Living, Breathing Offering

“Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable
to God, which is your spiritual service. Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God (Rom. 12:1-2).”

Our bodies are collectively what makes up the Church. We are called to give our bodies as a living, breathing offering. A living sacrifice. A sacrifice is how people in the OT met with God. They gave God sacrificial offerings, that would cover their sins. Because of the mercies of God. Because of Jesus Christ. We can give a different kind of offering. We can give ourselves. This is our spiritual service. This is how we operate in the Church. We are to give our hands and feet. To give all we are, knowing how much God has given up on our behalf.

“Before we trusted Christ, we used our bodies for sinful pleasures and purposes, but now that we belong to Him, we want to use our bodies for His glory. The Christian’s body is God’s temple (1 Cor. 6:19-20) because the Spirit of God dwells within him (Rom. 8:9). It is our privilege to glorify Christ in our bodies and magnify Christ in our bodies (Phil. 1:20-21) (Warren Wiersbe).”

In addition to our bodies, we need to give our minds and wills to God. This is the point in our relationship with God, where we seriously just get before His face and seek after the things of God.

Get to Know Him!

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires (Ps. 37:4).”

When we are in a relationship, we will want to get to know that person.

Have you ever spent so much time around someone, that you become more like them?

Your character begins to reflect theirs. Their habits become your own. We feed off our time with our Savior, just like we feed off our best friend. We become like Him, the more time we spend with Him!

Time Well-Spent

“[T]he LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend… [others] saw that his (Moses) face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD (Ex. 33:11, 34:35).”

We need to get to know our great Savior and allow ourselves to be transformed as we fill up our minds with the “things of God” and trade in our old desires for the will of God. This is the key to unlock Proverbs 37:4 where we are taught that if we take delight in the Lord, then He will give us “the desires of our heart.”

Why would God allow us to go back to where we once were? He knows that place is no good for us. This is a whole new dimension to living.

When we seek after God, we will change as we spend time with Him. As we get to know Him, our hearts change. Our emotions change. The things we once clung to, we cling to no more. When we take the time to give ourselves before the Lord as a living offering, others will notice how we are changing. The same sin we got caught up on before, is no longer a hindrance. We can run past that scene of temptation, where we once lingered and couldn’t find a way to get away.

As we come away to be with Jesus, we begin to change. Step-by-step. Day-by-day. We begin to undergo a big transformation, and it begins the moment we say “yes” to Christ. It begins the moment we resolve to break out our Bibles and turn off our phones or the tv.

Application: How can I take the next step to make my Jesus time count? It may be limiting distractions, getting up early, etc. How can I make my time spent with Jesus a higher priority?