Not I

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There is a moment in your walk with God when you realize that possessing the land is going to be hard work.

And then there is a bigger moment when you realize that all your hard work cannot do what only God can do: set people free, love them relentlessly, deliver them consistently, fill them with His Spirit and His Love.

“Haven’t I worked hard trying to do more than any of the others?

Even then, my work didn’t amount to all that much.

It was God giving me the work to do,

God giving me the energy to do it.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:10-11‬ ‭MSG

Yet, not I but the grace of God within me….

It is a sweet moment.
A defining moment.

The moment you realize that the work of God doesn’t depend on you but that you get to join in the work of God by depending on Him more and more.

It isn’t about you. You are a part of a family, a part of the mission, a part of a vision born in heaven and lived on earth.

“So whether you heard it from me or from those others, it’s all the same: We spoke God’s truth and you entrusted your lives.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:10-11‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Love people grace-full-y, speak God’s truth and then let Him do the heavy lifting of changing people’s lives.

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Give and Take

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All relationships have to be a give and take in order to be healthy. It has to go two ways or else you are not in a relationship, you are in a fandom. This includes your relationship with God.

Your “give” to God: to journey forward with Him and hold nothing back. Give Him all.

So what is your “take”? Your “take” is to partake of promises, consume them, receive them and walk forward in them.

This taking is not a selfish act, it is trusting one. It is also not a passive act but it is an active and proactive one. The taking is work and faith put into action. It is possessing the land, pursuing the promise and wholeheartedly going after your purpose.

Where is your promised land?
Where you now reside.

The secret of walking in faith is recognizing that your promised land is not somewhere else but right here. It is where you are right now but transformed by God’s intervention.

It is your life transformed by God’s intervention.

It is your marriage transformed by God’s intervention.

It is your workplace transformed by God’s intervention.

It is your parenting transformed by God’s intervention.

It is you- transformed by God’s intervention.

Walking in faith, not in the flesh, in grace, not legalism, in love not hate.

Close your eyes. Open the eyes of your heart and ask God to give you His vision for your life. With eyes of faith see the promised land laid out before you. Taste the bounty you will cultivate, the joy of habitation. Fall in love with the hope-filled future God has planned for you.

Then with courage and tenacity walk hand in hand with God. Grow forward in faith and take hold of your purpose, one step at a time. Hold nothing back from His loving gaze or hand of grace.

There are unimaginable blessings awaiting those who will walk in the purposes of God, hand-in-hand with Him. You have barely scratched the surface. Now, as it was then, your faith will become sight and you will see with your own eyes the promises of God come to pass.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen”.

Ephesians 3:20, 21 NIV

Why You Are Here

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Why are you here?

Not to collect more things.

Not to become an expert.

Not to be happy all the time.

Not to look good all the time.

Not to feel good all the time.

Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:14 ‭MSG‬‬

You are here to be a light.

A witness.

A glimpse of grace living.

A glimpse of God living through you.

A breath of fresh love-laced air in the sin-stained world.

That is why you are here.

Don’t get so caught up in yourself or in your present circumstances that you miss your God-empowered purpose for today:

TO SHINE.

My prayer for you is that you are so filled with the Light of Christ that it spills out of you in every way possible, to every person you meet, in every moment of darkness or discouragement or overwhelming circumstance, in spite of the current crisis, through the present obstacle. May the Light of His Love be uncontainable and contagious through you today.

Cast It

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In order to cast ALL your anxiety on Him, you have to move your focus from your anxiety to your Savior.

You focus on what you’re worried about, what you can’t control, what you are not strong enough to carry. You focus on the problem and how heavy it weighs upon your shoulders. You focus on your own hands when God is asking you to focus on His heart. 

He cares for you.

He cares for more than you even realize. 

When you are in the middle of a fierce storm feeling out of control and tossed around, you ask Jesus, like the disciples did in Mark 4:38, “Do you even care that I’m in this storm? I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t cause it to happen and I’m not sure if I’m going to make it through.” 

The answer is yesHe cares.

When you are burnt out and overwhelmed with life, you go to Jesus like Martha did in Luke 10:40, and ask,  “Don’t you care that I’m doing all the work and no one is helping me?”

The answer is yesHe cares.

In fact, the Hebrew word used for “care” in both the above passages is the SAME word used in 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) –

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Does God care? 

Yes, He absolutely does.

Don’t Quit

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If you are growing and pursuing God, the enemy would like to discourage you from continuing that.

He wants you to quit…now.

Quit now before you grow stronger.

Quit now before you learn how to live in God’s love and power.

Quit now before you can influence and impact those around you.

Quit now before you walk in God’s power and purpose for your life.

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭73:26‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The Spirit of God in you will give you the strength you need to make it through whatever you have to.

Don’t quit, not now, not tomorrow, not ever.

Infused

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When you are ready to be obedient, get ready to feel discouraged.

Whenever you get ready to grow, get ready for the opposition.

God doesn’t numb our emotions or take away our humanity- he allows us to feel discouraged, feel defeated, feel downcast. He doesn’t take away our humanity but what He does is give us His power.

He challenges us to not make our obedience contingent on our emotions.

He asks us to “do it afraid”. To walk forward in faith.

To fight the battle that rises up and fight all the way through to victory.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”
Ephesians 6:10 NIV

I love that there is a “finally” here. After all the instructions on relationship wisdom that comes before this verse, Paul has the final word you need: be strong in The Lord and in His mighty power. This means to receive strength from Him, to be endowed with it, to allow God’s mighty power to infuse your soul with strength.

You are in a battle. It is a battle you cannot win but one that has been won for you. It is a battle waged against you and the Word of God reigning in your world. God does not remove you from the battle or remove the battle from you: He fits you with His own weapons and says “FIGHT!”

Finally– when you are at the end of yourself, you are ready to really begin. BE INFUSED with His mighty power. If you are feeling weak and discouraged- you are in just the right place to receive His strength.

Be Strong!

Habits

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We all have old habits that we want to get rid of.

The thing is, you have had those habits for so long and they are so ingrained that you do it without even thinking It is almost unconscious.

That kind of habit takes an enormous amount of energy to reform or get rid of but in Christ it is possible. It might take almost as long to unlearn as it did to learn but you can unlearn it.

However, there is a particular old habit that Jesus is more concerned about than the one you are thinking of.

It is a habit that belongs to your old nature: you desire to get your way in everything and work to make sure that it happens. Maybe even unconsciously, you maneuver to manipulate circumstances or people to make your way possible.

“Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:1-2‬ ‭MSG‬‬

It IS human nature but you have a new nature in Christ. You have been recreated in Him. The old has gone, the new has come.

But old habits die hard.

When we struggle, we think it is because God doesn’t love us. In reality, it might be that He loves you so much that He will use the stressful opportunity at hand to break an old nature habit. Those habits are sabotaging your freedom to live in your new nature.

When you feel insecure, instead of going back to old habits, make a new habit of seeking God and asking Him to show you how to think like Him in it.

“Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.”