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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The Blessing of Knowing I am His Chosen Daughter

This morning, I am reminded of the celebration I get to have: my heavenly Father has chosen me. He has called me His daughter, and invites me into a daily relationship with Him. I never have to go through life alone, or without Him by my side.

My heavenly Father – who willingly chose me, adopted me into His family, sent His Son Jesus, lavishes His love onto me, and gives much better gifts than any in this world could give.

‘[T]o all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
They are… [given] a birth that comes from God (John 1:12-13).’

‘… Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his
own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
 For his Spirit joins with our spirit
to affirm that we are God’s children. 
(Romans 8:15-16)’


Knowing we are called His own, is a tremendous blessing and a celebration all in itself.
It is the greatest gift we can receive. We get the joy of entering an adventurous, glorious relationship with our Creator. Simply because He loves us. This is why He came. This is why God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. Out of His love for us. He came to be with us, and wants to give us the greatest gifts we could ever dream of. He has poured out His love for us – like none other.

‘See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and
that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that
we are God’s children because they don’t know him. (1 John 3:1)’

If you are waiting for that special man to enter your life…

It is easy to observe others’ “happy-on-the-outside” relationships. We need not look any further in the world – to find the One who will love us and transform our lives. It’s comforting to know we are God’s first choice. He knows our flaws, and chooses us anyways! And, He continues to pursue us on a daily basis. That’s a glimpse of our heavenly Father’s love for us. He gives the right to be called children to those who believe in His Son Jesus Christ, and the gift of salvation we are given through Him alone!

How about you? Do you realize His pursuit of you? He hasn’t stopped pursuing you or caring about you, my friend. He is crying out for you to ‘come’, to recognize He is desiring a relationship with you through His Son!

Serving

fearfullyI want to serve in my local church body. The question actually isn’t “how”. The more permanent question would probably be “how do I avoid beating up myself for my different “able” abilities?” With the body weakness it’s hard to commit to anything, yet I know God has a purpose and a specific way He is calling me to serve. To serve within my local church. To serve others. He has many ways He is going to use me (He is God. He is soverign. He is in total control. It’s not about me. It is all about Him!!) to show His might, glory, and all surpassing power. He will reveal those things to me in His timing. I need to learn to love myself in the process, not treating myself with criticism.

The words “different abilities” never would have taken such a change in definition than they do now if not for my current health issues. My abilities are much different than others.  But God has been reminding me that He looks at the heart, not appearance (see 1 Samuel 16:7). Not about what I see, but what my God sees. He is the one who sees me, all of me faults and all, and nothing is hidden from Him. Yet He continues to love me and pour His kindness. It’s humbling and I am undeserving, but so thankful. God continues to stay with me. He’ll show me the steps He wants me to take, as I seek to serve Him. <3

While those thoughts of beating myself up still come up, I can be assured that God has “equipped me for every good work” just as He says to me in His Word. Equipped for every good work. It doesn’t mean I am instantly failing when I give in, stop doing something, to rest, when my body begins to struggle, and not able to take it. I am not failing God, because my body is sick.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

I can continue to seek Him and serve.
It’s about using my given talents.
The ability to balance or stand for more than a few minutes just might not be a part of those abilities. :)

Many ways to serve Him. As I keep on His path, seeking Him in His Word, seeking His guidance, He will continue to show me how I can serve Him in my local church body, the global church, and with any person whom I come into contact. He will provide me with every single thing that is required of me when serving.

Resource: S.H.A.P.E

The Month of…. Love?

February has been renamed as “the love month” by some. Interesting idea: What if we took this month to get serious about what God says about l-o-v-e in 1 Corinthians 13? Love is so much more than what this world makes it out to be. It’s not about candy hearts and the romance we see in movies. Here is a much better use of our time and thoughts: What if we allowed ourselves to be consumed with the God Romance. God loves each of us dearly, and has great compassion for us. Let’s give Him our all in loving Him, loving others, and loving ourselves. I have this set of verses that are written out on my bookshelf. Hosea 2:14 and Zeph 3:17 say:

“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her (Hosea 2:14)…
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing (Zeph 3:17).”

What if we took the challenge? Focusing on the various aspects of love on a regular day basis. How would you pursue it?

Here is what I felt led to do today. I actually have felt led to do this for longer than today, but I didn’t become obedient in doing it until today. What if I let love cover my mirror? Covering it with what God says about love… Spending this month and ask/answer these and other questions:

  • What is love?
  • What does it look like in our relationships?
  • What would it do to our lives?
  • Could God use it to continue to renew our minds (by studying His Word) and being transformed by Him? Yes, He most certainly could!

A month or so ago, I wrote on an index card: “Love is patient.” Included in the index card was a prayer, to help me…as I try to be mindful of the need  to be patient. We live in a world where everything is “now, now, now”. Where we want things in absolute immediacy. Expecting fast food speed in our daily lives. Patience is a long awaited virtue in our generation. Where is our patience?

In Galatians 5:22-23, we even find some of those love characteristics in the fruit of the Spirit. Love being the first and most obvious characteristic. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. (22-23)” Next Paul writes, “Against such things there is no law.” Love in its truest form fulfills the law of Christ. There is much more to love than we realize.

So this month (and the following months as we continue), let’s be about LOVE.

I opted to add a concept about love to a small index card, and tape it on a side mirror in my bathroom. The following is what I have written down to be mindful of:

Love always wins.
Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love is not boastful.
Love is not proud.
Love is not rude.
Love does not demand its own way.
Love is not irritable
Love keeps no record of being wronged.

Imagine a place in your house. It may be in your kitchen, bedroom, next to your tv, by your desk, or in your car. How can you allow these verses and the Holy Spirit to renew your mind about love, relationships, and how it can affect your life or God’s Kingdom.

As I walked by earlier, I was reminded that “love does not envy”. I was immediately reminded of this passage in Matthew: “46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:46-48)

How can we willingly be challenged by love? Not just love, but God’s love. Consider this a love dare of sorts.
Be holy…set apart…even how we live out His love for us…and as we love others as ourselves.
Even practicing love and 1 Cor. 13:4-8 in learning how to truly love ourselves!

Enemy of God or Child of God?

Enemy of God or Child of God?
Slave to religion or Friend of Jesus?

Turning to other gods or Focused on Christ?
Focused on doing or our Relationship with Christ?

Every day, we make choices. Our choices become habits. Our habits define us. We choose who we will follow. We choose to model our lives after the world, our friends, co-workers, the media, or choose to follow Jesus Christ. Each decision we make is influenced by something or someone.

We will either be a child of God or His enemy. Period. There is no in-between. It is only when we completely turn to Christ that we find freedom, peace, and are no longer separated from God. It is in this place where we choose Him instead of sin…when we choose to follow Him instead of other things. Friend of God or Enemy of God? We determine where we end up…Jesus is the only way to God and to Heaven!

What would it look like to live as a friend of Christ?

Trusting in Jesus:

Trusting in Him. It is realizing we are sinners. We are—we mess things up. We have gone down the wrong road and made mistakes that caused us to be separated from God. It is turning to other things and trying to live our own way instead of turning to God. Still while we were refusing to follow Him and obey Him, He sent his son Jesus to come and die on the cross for our sins, taking our punishment, and giving us His freedom! It is not because of anything that is in us that brought Christ to take our sins. It is because of God’s goodness and His overflowing love for us! Trusting in Him means accepting His free gift.

Realizing the amazing love the Lord has for us! Choosing Him. Choosing to give our lives to Him as we reflect on the great sacrifice He has made on our behalf.

10 “We hope in the living God, the Savior of all people. In particular, he is the Savior of all those who believe in him.” (1 Timothy 4:10)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Spending time with Him:

Reading His Word.
Spending time in Prayer
Listening to Him speak to us through music and friends as we place ourselves in relationships with other Christ-followers.
This is the best place to be.
How do we have a friend if we never spend time with them?
What kind of quality is that relationship? He is deserves our ALL!

“She [Martha] had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said….Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:39;42)

Obeying Him:

What we do reveals the condition of our heart. It shows the love we have. When we have a friend that we deeply love and they are sick, we desire to take action of some form. We choose to take care of them and be there for them however we can. In relationships, love is spending time with others and recognizing how valuable those relationships are in our lives… We show our love for them. We too need to show our love to Christ by obeying Him and His Word—giving Him our full attention. Giving Him every part of our lives!

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” (John 14:21-24)

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:9-12)