Hope Now


Hope now.

Right now.

Open wide your heart and let hope flood in.

Let it wash over your mind and fill your spirit to the brim.

Don’t wait for a better day, a better time.

This is the day the Lord has made,
This is the time you have.

“Wait, Israel, for GOD. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always!”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭131:3‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Words

All words hold power.

They set the tone, communicate vision, encourage and lift up or they destroy trust, discourage and convolute the situation.

It is usually the words we plan that do the most good and the ones we don’t plan that do the most damage.

Before you speak, ask yourself if your words are going to help the situation or hurt it?

It’s okay to say you don’t know.

It’s okay to say nothing at all.

It’s okay to choose to be proactive instead of reactive with your words.

When in doubt, don’t say anything at all.

“Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭12:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Spend your time planning the words you want to say and applying self control to the ones you don’t.

May your words bring healing to those who desperately today need it and empower those around you to be courageous in pursuing the gifts God has put in them.

Your Gifts


The gift that you are with your

smile and words,

your hands and heart,

how you cook or clean,

create or organize,

how you lead and follow,

bless and pray

is meant to be given, not hidden.

God has given you gifts.

All kinds.

Some come as talent.

Others are revealed in character.

Some are gifts to you that bring such joy in you that can’t bare to share them.

Some are so close to your heart that you are afraid to reveal them.

But gifts are made for giving.

Salt is made for seaoning.
Light is made for lighting.
Gifts are made for giving.

The more precious they are to you, the more powerful they will be for others.

The gifts you have been given are to be given away: to serve, to love, to mend, to tend, to bless, to build.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Shine.
Season.
Give.

Stay


If where you are is boring, stay there.

If where you are is overwhelming, stay there.

If where you are is fun, stay there.

If where you are is challenging, stay there.

Stay where God has called to be.

He will give you strength to stand the monotony, wisdom to navigate the stress, clarity to get the most out of the fun and vision to conquer the challenge.

“Friends, stay where you were called to be. God is there. Hold the high ground with him at your side.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭7‬:‭24‬ MSG

Look to God for your identity, your purpose and the strength to live it out.

Hold the high ground.
Stay where you are.

Flying Yet? 


Today’s post will take a bit longer than a minute to read but I didn’t have the heart to cut it down. Somebody out there needs the whole thing as is, so here you go.

On the way home a few years ago from a very quick trip to Vegas to celebrate my birthday with a dear friend, my plane was delayed. When I finally boarded 2 hours after the scheduled time, I made my way through the tight aisle amongst disgruntled passengers to my seat and sat down next to a 5 year old girl and her mom.

After about five minutes of waiting on the new plane, the little girl turned to her mom and asked, “Are we flying yet?”

“Not yet, but soon” her mom said.

Then we had stopped to wait our turn in the runway. Every stop and turn felt like an eternity, and the irrational fear that we were actually going nowhere teased at the very edges of our emotions.

Finally, the plane turned onto “our” runway and began to pick up speed as it prepared to lift off. The little girl looked out the window as the world blurring by and asked again, “Are we flying yet?”

This time, I chimed in, “Not yet, but you will know it when it happens, you won’t miss it”.

Just then, with the plane speeding down runway, that tell tale moment of take off happened: you are pushed into your seat and the plane feels heavy as it leaves the ground, tucks up its wheels and takes off. Then for just a moment you feel lighter than air then heavy again as the nose of the plane points to sky. Now…you are flying.

I turned to the little girl next to me and asked her ”Are we flying yet?”

“Yes!” She said with a big smile on her face, “We are definitely flying!”

As the plane leveled off and I settled down for the ride, I thought about how often I ask God the same kind of question in my life, “Is this it? Am I flying? Am I living in the fullness of Your purpose?”

I looked down at the precious blond headed little girl sitting next to me (who is already over the novelty of flying and now coloring in her book) and I was reminded that “flying”is a part of the journey but not the apex of it.

I am “flying” living passionately and pursuing God daily. Even though it looks different than I thought it would and sometimes it feels frightfully “normal” after things have leveled off, I am flying.

I have faced fears and taken risks. I have failed and succeeded. I have been hurt and been healed. I have seen miracles and cleaned toilets. I am living and indeed “flying”.

So why am I still asking the question, “Am I flying yet?”

I wonder how often I am searching for the “feeling” of lift off and misinterpret that as flying? The take off is just the beginning. And flying is transportation. It is meant to get you somewhere.

You go farther faster and it is terribly exciting, but still it is just a part of the journey.

There are times in your life you have been launched into a new arena or when the speed of life has reached a breaking point where you either take off or turn around. Though they are defining moments to be sure, they are not permanent.

The point is not to spend your life looking for the next take off. By all means- fly! But remember that what matters in the long run is what you do when you land. How you live. Who you love. What you do with what God has given you.

When you are pursuing God’s purpose for your life, it can feel like that departing day in Las Vegas. You are packed and ready to go, checked into the right place and feel more than ready to fly.

You know you are where you are supposed to be and doing what you are supposed to be doing . You are headed in the right direction but instead of going anywhere, you end up feeling like all you are doing is waiting. Starts and stops. Boarding and un- boarding. Waiting for your “turn” to take off.

Frustration and discouragement sets in and you begin to wonder, When will it be my turn to fly?”

Just like that gentle mother who answered her little girls questions, so your Heavenly Father answers yours (and mine):

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

And

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “(Isaiah 55:8 NIV)

Instead of looking for the next take off, enjoy the wait, the ride and the journey of life. Trust God. He knows where you are and where you are destined to be.

Remember that life is a journey that has more to do with who you are with than where you go.

Walk with God everyday and enjoy the journey with Him. He will take care of when and where and how of it all.

After about an hour in the air, my plane finally touched down at the Stockton Airport. As the wheels touched the Tarmac, the passengers broke out in applause, myself included. I was so glad to be done with the flying and to get on with the business of living.

May your journey be filled with moments of take offs, flying high and landing right where you are supposed to be.

But most of all, may it be filled with His presence as you get down to business of living fully and passionately within the freedom of God’s great grace where you are right now.

Your Why


Life in this world lends itself to sucking the life out of you. Siphoning the joy. Destroying the delight.

A few heartbreaks later and your life is lived from duty and drudgery.

Sometimes survival dictates just going through the motions and living your life on auto pilot. When you are soul drained the simplest tasks begin to feel like heavy burdens.

God wants more for you.

“We justify our actions by appearances; GOD examines our motives.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭21:2‬ ‭MSG‬‬

God examines your motives because they are the why behind the what.

Survival is a good why to make it through hard things but it is not meant to be a permanent state of being.

God has more for you.

He is the God of the inside workings, the attitude makeovers, the perspective shifter. He is forgiving God, the wipe the slate clean and start over God. He is the miracle making God, creating something out of nothing God with just one word from His mouth.

He created you in love, to love and to be loved. God so loved that He sent His Son as a sacrifice to restore you to this love relationship.

He did not do it out of duty, He did it out of love. He does not live out of duty but out of love and wants the same for you.

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:16‬ ‭NIV

When your why comes from love it feeds your spirit and invigorates your soul. Duty devoid of it drains it.

Are you living in survival mode or love mode?

What’s your why?

May the God of the inside workings give your attitude a makeover from duty doer to lit up lover.

May the forgiving God the wipe clean the slate of the past and help you start over today.

May the miracle making God, create something out of nothing and fill you so full of His love that it overflows onto those around you.

Where Are You Heading? 


Most people think to change their life, they need to change their behavior. God says change the direction of your life and your behavior will follow. 

“Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways.”
Haggai‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭NIV

This verse isn’t just about what your doing but about where you are going. It’s not about the way your living your life as much as it is about the way your life is headed. 

Where are you headed? 

If you keep doing what your doing, do you want to go where your going?

The phrase “Give careful thought to your ways” is actually a Hebrew figure of speech that literally means “put your heart on your roads”.

In otherwords: Where will your heart be down the road from today?  

It is easy to get caught up in bad habits to survive the current crisis, surrender to discouragement because of the current disappointment or spew toxic words at the ones you love because of the current stress you are experiencing. The question is, “If you keep doing what you are doing what will happen to your relationships? Your body? Your heart? Is this where you want to end up? 

Is what you are doing today taking you down a road you want to be on tomorrow? 

If you don’t want to go that way, stop right now. Turn around. Ask for directions (from God) to get you on the right road. 

I am so glad I waited this long to change” said no one ever. 

When It Looks Impossible


In Exodus 14 the Isrealites were stuck between the sea before them and their former slave master’s coming to recapture them. It was an impossible situation.

“But Moses told the people,

 “Don’t be afraid. 

Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. 

The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 

The LORD himself will fight for you.

 Just stay calm.”

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:13-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Hemmed in by the mountains on both sides,  they had no way out and no way forward. Their new found freedom seemed fleetingly short and ultimately doomed. 

They knew that God had delivered them from slavery but little more. They had not been free long enough to learn how powerful He is. They didn’t know that He would fight for them, split the sea before them and rescue them from an impossible situation. 

They did not know God…yet.

“When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the LORD had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the LORD and in his servant Moses.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:31‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When you don’t want to go back but don’t know how your going to go forward, trust God and:

1. Don’t be afraid (don’t let fear dictate your decisions).

2. Stand still and watch the LORD rescue you(stop trying to fix the situation yourself. Let God work).

The LORD himself will fight for you. 

When it looks impossible, God is not punishing you, He is teaching you more about Himself. 

Hold Onto Hope

I want to encourage you today that no matter how dark the situation may seem to be believe that God can do something in it anyway

I want to challenge you to dare to trust Him in the desert – there is a promised land and you are on your way to it. 

My prayer for you is that like Abraham you will decide to live today not based on what you can’t do but on what God can do through you. His power sustaining you to walk, to love, to care and to be fully alive even though you may feel mostly dead inside. 

Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. 

When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. 

‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:17-18‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Long before Abraham saw the fruit on of the promise, he believed God anyway. Though everything in his life seemed to indicate otherwise, he lived his life, everyday, not looking at the impossibility of the promise but in the possibility of God. 

I am sure that there were times that Abraham barely believed. I know that there were days that he was only holding on to a bare thread of hope…but he held on. 

Hold on, my friend, you may have only have a thread of hope but in Christ that thread is stronger than what you face and will hold against that which your fear.

I know you don’t see how it will happen but God does.

Hold on. 

Hold on to Jesus…He is holding onto you.

Forgive Them


The best way to break the power of the past is to forgive.

Forgiveness is not a feeling it is a choice. It is a choice to let God have it, hold it, and be responsible for it- whatever it is. 

Forgiveness is taking the power away from them and giving it back to God. 

You don’t have to trust them to forgive them. Forgiveness is not about restoring trust in them, it is about trusting God with them. 

They don’t have to sorry in order for you to forgive them. They don’t even have to know that you have released them to God.

What you do have to do is make the choice.

And everyday after, continue to make the choice until the feeling lines up with the decision. 

“The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17 MSG

Forgiveness is not about trust, it is about freedom.

What is keeping you from forgiving them?

What are you afraid of?

What does Jesus say about it?
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