Being Real

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:29‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Real strength doesn’t come from pretending you have it but in admitting that you don’t.

Real power comes from knowing you can’t do this on your own and that you need help.

Needing Jesus everyday is not admitting defeat.

It is the key to victory.

Sustained 

‬‬I remember a time a few years ago when I was discouraged and heartbroken.

My hopes had been swept away by a flood of circumstances fueled by other people’s choices and actions. I chose integrity but no one else saw it that way. My character was questioned. My reputation was shredded and I could do nothing about it.

I could only walk forward into a future that I had not anticipated or imagined.

I clung to Jesus. I grabbed hold of the promise that He would never leave me or forsake me. I tried to trust that He could redeem the circumstances as I watched everything we had built crumble around us. I tried and failed- I couldn’t find trust or hope within my soul. Only heartbreak and fear.

Psalms 119:116 became the words I held onto:

Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.”

One morning I got up early and took a walk. We were living in Las Vegas and my neighborhood edged the desert by the Red Rock. With worship music loaded on my iPod, I set out to pray and breathe in the presence of God.

As I turned the corner out of my neighborhood and onto the desert road behind it the song “Great is Thy Faithfulness” began. The sun was just rising over Red Rock Canyon and it was so beautiful that I almost dropped to my knees.


I heard God’s whisper in my heart, “Hold on precious, your hopes are not lost. I am faithful to complete what I have started in you. I will sustain you through this and strengthen you in it. My faithfulness knows no end.”

It was a turning point for me. I carried that promise through a time that got harder long before it got better.

Hold on, my friend, your hopes are not lost. 

Jesus is faithful to complete what He started in you.

He will sustain you and strengthen you in it.

God’s faithfulness knows no end.

Pencil


Last weekend, I was reminded that I am like a pencil in the hand of God that He will use me for His purposes during this season of my life and I want to pass that reminder onto you:

You are chosen, held, directed and purposed in the Hand of God to be used by Him anyway He sees fit, where you are right now.

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:9-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The most powerful thing you can do is to surrender completely, rest fully and trust Him to guide you to be an instrument of hope, love, encouragment, and strength to those around you. God knows where you are and how He wants to use you.

“I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.” – Mother Teresa

You are a pencil in the hand of a writing God…what story will He tell through you today?

Centered

Worry is a joy stealer and if worry is stealing your joy, you can bet it is also stealing your ability to love as well.

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.

Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.

It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Put your worries in God’s capable hands and get busy loving the people He has placed in your life.

Gift Giving 

“Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! ”
(1 Corinthians 12:7 MSG)

This is the season of gift giving and I love it. We celebrate what God has given us by giving gifts to each other. However, there is something more important than giving new things to the people in your life and it is the opportunity to walk in the gift God has made you to be.

By using the gifts God has given you, the talents of your hands, the strengths of your personality, the driving passion of your heart, God uses you to reveal Himself to others.

Everyone has unique God given gifts and everyone benefits from them. Like a great orchestra filled with a hundred different instruments but all following the same conductor and creating the art of music that transcends the realm of earth and brings us closer to heaven. The orchestra is amazing because each individual has grown in, practiced relentlessly and played their own instrument until it is an extension of themselves.

It is not a prideful thing to use your gifts for the glory of God, it is a needed thing.

The world needs people who are connected to God, using their gifts so that God is revealed and those people can get connected to God. When people are connected to God they pass from death to life, from darkness to light and begin to develop their God given gifts so that others can get connected to God and… you get the picture.

You hide our gifts thinking they are not good enough. You do not grow in them because you think you are not good enough. But this isn’t about you, it is about God blessing others through you.

What are your gifts (what the world sometimes called talents)?

How are you going to use it today?

Have you grown in it, practiced it relentlessly and walked in it until it is an extension of who you are to the glory of God?

If not, begin doing it today.

If you have done it before and stopped, begin again today.

Act On It


You don’t have to have the whole plan, see the whole picture or even walk with God for a long time to implement what He has shown you.

“But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.”
(James 1:25 MSG)

Even a glimpse of what God wants for your life can be powerful enough to start an avalanche of transformation.

Action trumps intention every time.

Intentions do not lead to freedom, actions do.

Intentions do not bring joy and blessings, actions do.

Intention does nothing for you or those around you.

Act on it.

Make that phone call.

Ask that person for forgiveness.

Give that small gift.

Speak the truth…in love.

It doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be done.

This Time 


The holidays can be wonderful and terrible at the same time. Moments of joy and thanksgiving mixed with sadness and loss. As much as they create opportunities for new memories, they also bring reminders of old ones.

Some of those old memories are moments of disappointment or worse. Some might be sweet with love discovered or heartbreaking because of love lost. Those memories can so fill your heart that you have no room for the new ones.

Jesus allowed himself to feel emotions, all of them. To mourn. To love. To be thankful. He knew that there was a time for all of them and that they often overlapped.

Jesus knew that there is:

“a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As you navigate the emotions in the heart of this holiday season and walk with Jesus, follow His lead. Give yourself permission to feel all the emotions this time brings. Walk with Him through them, acknowledge them, embrace them.

Grieve if you need to.

Ungreived losses take up room in your heart and crowd out your ability to receive the new gifts the Lord has for you now. He does not ask you to ignore them or to stuff them but to allow Him to walk with you through them.

When you take time to mourn, you make room in your heart.

It’s okay for you to happy AND sad at the same time.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean that you are always happy or only feel “good” emotions, it means that you walk with Jesus through all the emotions this time in your life brings.

“With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you. When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, those who fear you will take heart and be glad.

I can see now, GOD, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what’s true and right.

Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight! just the way you promised. Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to.

Let the fast-talking tricksters be exposed as frauds; they tried to sell me a bill of goods, but I kept my mind fixed on your counsel.

Let those who fear you turn to me for evidence of your wise guidance.

And let me live whole and holy, soul and body, so I can always walk with my head held high.

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭119:73-80‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Being a Christian during this time means you are more fully present in it than you have ever been before.

I am praying for you to fully embrace and be fully embraced by Jesus no matter what this season brings.

The Abundant Lie


Envy is the lie at the heart of comparison.

It whispers with an incessant voice:

“you are not enough”,
“you don’t have enough”,
“you could be enough if only….”

Envy robs you of enjoying what you do have and who God has created you to be.

When you believe the lie of envy, you immediately trade abundant life for an abundant lie.

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:9-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God does not envy. He has everything, he is everything. He is not lacking in any area and he has made all his resources available to you in Christ.

In Christ, you are enough. You are embraced, loved, cherished, equipped, empowered and complete. You have been given access to all that is in God in Jesus.

God’s plan for your life is not to be consumed by envy.

Confess it, take it to the cross, leave it there.

Begin to walk in the fullness of who you are in Christ and leave the emptiness of envy at the cross today.

Don’t waste another second on it.

Daily Routine


Make praise a part of your daily routine.

Wash your face.

Brush your teeth.

Praise the Lord.

Praise automatically resets your perspective as you raise your eyes to see God move in the world around you.

Train your heart to see the reasons and the whys.

Train your eyes to see how God loves, provides and guides.

“Good-hearted people, make praise your habit.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭64:9-10‬ ‭MSG‬‬

What are you praising the Lord for today?

Giving Thanks First


Giving thanks first is a simple thing that can change everything. It changes your outlook and your attitude. It invites God in to do a miracle.

Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted.

‭‭John‬ ‭6:11 ‭NLT‬‬

Instead of looking at the enormity of what He needed, Jesus gave thanks first for the little that had been provided.

Jesus did that a lot. He gave thanks first.

It is a game changer because it has nothing to do with what you actually have in your hands but in what God can do with it.

It is how you take what little you have and ask God to bless it, multiply it and use it to bless others.

Don’t wait to give thanks until you have everything you need, give thanks for what you have now, no matter how small it seems. God can use it to do more than you could possible imagine.

May your day be filled with moments of giving thanks before you have what you need, life transforming hope in what God can do with it and heaven sent resources to do what God has called you to do.

What are you giving thanks first for today?