Unstoppable Love

When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” -Matthew 8:1-4

I used to believe that every miracle Jesus did was to demonstrate to the world that He was the Messiah. That each act of power had a purpose in mind. To spread His ministry, challenge the Pharisees, or even propel Him toward the cross.

I guess I never really realized that many of Jesus’s first miracles were done in secret. Often we see him telling those He healed to keep quiet about Him. He even shuts the mouths of demons who knew He is the Christ. Mary even gets the “it’s not the right time, mom!” treatment for asking Him to do something at the wedding they were attending.

And yet, despite all of this, Jesus still healed everyone who asked for healing. He still turned water into wine at the wedding so that the celebration could continue. And He still cast out demons, knowing they would recognize Him.

The Leper who was healed in the passage above didn’t do what Jesus asked and instead told about Him all over town. This hindered Jesus’s impact in the city and He had to continue healing people outside its walls.

And so why did he risk it? Why did He heal people, like Peter’s mother-in-law who had a fever, or the paralyzed man by the pool of Bethesda? Surely, He could’ve waited and healed them when the time was right instead.

“Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.” (Matthew 20:34)

“I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance.” (Mark 8:2-3)

“When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.” (Matthew 14:14)

“Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,He said. Be healed!”’ (Mark 1:41)

Jesus carried the all-consuming love of God inside Him. It was this great love that drove Him to heal and help whenever opportunities presented themselves. It was a selfless love that cared not what would happen so long as people were completely restored.

He didn’t heal from afar but got right down in the muck with people. The leper is a great example of this because lepers were considered the “untouchables” of society. They even had to yell, “unclean!” If people came within six feet of them unawares.

Six foot distancing sound familiar? Jesus didn’t just reach out toward the man, He took those six feet toward him and touched him! Can you imagine? Living for years with the identity of being unclean and never feeling the warmth of another human’s touch?

We’re to be moved by that same compassion toward today’s “untouchables.” Because we are God’s hands and feet in the world. How else will people know His love if we fail to demonstrate it? You may just be the only Jesus someone ever meets!

Notice also how Jesus never once went down the healing line like, “you’re healed, you’re healed, you can wait because God wants to teach you something through your illness.” Or “you can be healed, but to you I’ll give cancer to so that I receive some future glory from it.” Is that love? Does that sound like Jesus? And yet, these kind of beliefs are in our churches today.

The truth is in the Word. And in the Word we see the heart of God which holds nothing back and doesn’t hesitate to pour out love and healing upon us. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the true heart of God on the earth.

If ever you find yourself doubting, turn to Him, read Matthew/Mark/Luke/John and place yourself in the story. You are the leper, the tax collector, the paralyzed man, the bleeding woman, the adulterer, etc.

Jesus wants to climb over your walls, and into your pit, into your pain. And pull you out. He has compassion for you, so much that He would’ve died just for you.

Never forget that.

Doubting Thomas

“But he (Thomas) said to them, unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” -John 20:25

There is a reason the disciple, Thomas (also known as Didymus), is labeled as “doubting.” The passage above points to the fact that he was a man who needed to see in order to believe, and yet he was one of the 12 apostles that Jesus had chosen to be His followers and closest friends.

Apparently, he died much like the other disciples, being martyred for his gospel of Jesus. So why do we use the phrase, “don’t be a doubting Thomas,” which overlooks everything else the man accomplished for Christ?

“So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “let us go, so that we may die with Him (Jesus).” -John 11:16

I find it interesting that Thomas still performed miracles with the others when Jesus sent them out in Matthew 10:1-42 and Luke 9:1-6. There was no mention of his doubting then, and if it existed, even in his heart….miracles still took place.

One evening as I grumpily wondered why my prayers weren’t being answered, I remembered Thomas and realized the truth. He believed more than me.

It wasn’t a matter of Faith, we’ve all been given a measure of Faith. It is all in how or if we use it. We are never lacking in Faith to the extent that miracles can’t occur. Jesus clarifies this by saying even a mere mustard seed of Faith is adequate (Matthew 17:20).

Faith only requires action, otherwise without works it is dead (James 2:17). And Thomas has surely walked by Faith more often than not. He lived with Jesus! I’m sure his deeds also far outweigh my own. What have I truly accomplished for Christ?

And so I say, BE a Thomas. Don’t let your doubts stop you from seeking truth and exercising your faith. Follow Jesus even if you don’t have all the answers because let me tell you, “you never will!”

We are today’s disciples. And although we are very different than the 12, from the clothes we wear to the way we speak. We carry the same Holy Spirit. And if He is the same yesterday, today, and forever than I don’t think He changed His mind about miracles either.

I don’t know what it takes. I really don’t. There are days when I feel like prayers are mere wishes, days when I start to place more faith in myself or doctors. Sometimes I don’t even want to try anymore because my hope is so deferred. But at the end of the day I refuse to believe an easy lie over a difficult and painful truth.

The problem isn’t prayer and it isn’t God. It’s us. Something has taken what was simple and made it feel impossible. Or rather, someone. The devil doesn’t want us to release the Holy Spirit in power on the earth (his kingdom). And so, I believe the problem in our hearts began with the creation of the “religious spirit”, that is mere works without faith, condemnation over conviction, rituals without love. It forces all low but never rises up. It robs our hearts and minds of power and true wisdom and stagnates the growth and impact of a Christian on the world around them.

We all have this false doctrine engraved in our hearts to some extent. But I’ve tasted the freedom of truth and have seen that there is so much more we are missing that Jesus paid for. That we aren’t merely sinners saved by grace but coheirs of the kingdom, given power and authority to do even greater works than Jesus on the earth! (John 14:12)

Once you experience truth, no one can take it from you, and no amount of falling, no amount of demonic attack can make you forget that truth. You’re allowed to doubt my friends, you’re allowed to have days when you can’t take a step further. But you were not made to rest in that state of mind. Dust yourself off and start over, because you know the truth and the world needs the truth to come alive.

I can’t deny who I am in Christ. I will always come around, full circle, back to Him. He is the only way, and my only hope. He is the reason I live, do, and someday, die.

Thomas wasn’t perfect and neither are we. God shines brightest in our weaknesses and there wasn’t a soul God partnered with that didn’t need Him, nor didn’t need repentance. He likes to work through us broken vessels and that in and of itself is a miracle. He transforms us and that is miraculous!

I don’t know if this word is for someone else out there. During this pandemic, I just see a lot of people falling prey to this thought of powerlessness. Stop asking God, “what will YOU do?” And ask yourself, “what will I do?” Speak aloud the reality of heaven you want to see on this earth, in your workplace, in your home. Stand on the truth and speak it until you believe it!

Put that God-given Faith to work and you won’t have time to doubt.

May God bless you all ❤️

Official 8 Month Old!

Oh boy! Where’s the time gone?! You barely fit in my arms anymore and lifting your car seat carrier feels like a feat for Superman. Those cute little baby sounds have formed into your first word, “dada.” And I know someday, I’ll be hearing a “mama” too.

Your once gummy grin is now filling with tiny teeth, and that bald head is filling with blonde hair. Your eyes still remain brilliant blue, a rarity, considering our eyes of hazel and brown.

You love to stand and bounce, and every morning I wake to your squinty little smile and baby giggles which light up my life like no other sound.

You are finally enjoying the world of flavor, and it’s a joy to see your pallet grow. I wish you would love veggies more but boy do you love sweet things and mashed potatoes! Gravy all the better. 👍

I see you learning and growing, reaching new heights, and wanting to do more and more without my hand to guide you. I see a look of pride as you stand up straight, or reach that far off toy. And so I count the days and savor each moment, and give one last glance at each pair of clothes outgrown, before tucking them away in bins alongside toys and baby gear you no longer need.

I hold your tiny hand, and rock you as I sing, watching the sun rise and set on another day and memory of this chapter called “James and Me”, and excitedly await what memories summer will bring to us both.

James beside his newborn shirt

You are my sunshine ❤️ and nothing will ever change that. I pray that above all that you will ever learn, and before all the great things you will ever do, that you will know that you are loved, you’re here on this earth for such a time as this, and that this world is a temporary plain, just as you are only temporarily mine.

But that is good news son. Because beyond this life lies eternity, and beyond my love is the love of God, and the woes and pain that this world brings will someday cease. And we will all finally be home as one. But until that day, I will wipe away your tears and do my best to fill your life with light too.

I may not be perfect, we’ve had our share of tough times. But son I want to thank you for changing my life. ❤️

I love you….never lose your wonder, keep reaching, keep growing, keep becoming who God made you to be. I am so blessed to watch it all unfold and to be entrusted with raising you. Thank you God, for choosing me to be your mom.

Sleep tight, my little love ❤️