He Cares For You

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One morning during worship, a familiar fear wondered into my mind. With my hands already lifted in worship, I felt the Lord say to me, “You can hold onto your fear, or you can give it to me but you can’t do both.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Cast –  to toss. You can’t throw something without letting it go.

All – every irrational fear, every overwhelming worry. as they come.

Your – they are not God’s anxieties but He will take them.

Anxiety – the word used here means to be drawn in different directions. Literally means to be torn apart.

On Him – where to put what is tearing you apart. Jesus is strong enough to carry them, no matter how heavy they are. He will not remove the circumstances that are causing you anxiety but he will walk you through them and teach you how to deal with them.

Because He Cares – this is a present active verb as in “caring right now in this present moment”

For You – yes, YOU.

God is caring for you right now.

The quote “Don’t tell me that worry doesn’t work, because what I worry about doesn’t happen” used to be one of my favorites before I met Jesus.

God doesn’t want fear to be the center of your life – He wants to be the center of your life.

Make Jesus the center and cast your fears on Him today.

 

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Being Humble

I know that the word humble can be a hard one to grasp.

First of all, it has nothing to do with being humiliated or feeling humiliated.

Second, it is not about doing but about being.

It is about identity and living out of it.

It is knowing who you are in Christ as well as knowing who Christ is in you:

He is your Savior, redeemer, creator, all-powerful God.

He is your guide, strength, hope, and peace.

He is the great I AM and has unlimited power and reach.

Jesus is the greatest in heaven and made himself the least on earth. Not because He had forgotten who He was but because He knew with full confidence who He was.

In the first three chapters of Ephesians after encouraging the church in Ephesus to live out of their new identity in Christ, He tells them:

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Being humble means that you can be happy and content when you are not in control.

Being gentle means that you have unclinched your hands from steering the direction of your life and have let Jesus take the lead.

Being patient means bearing with those who don’t deserve your patience and loving people who are not easy to love.

This is about the little things that can undo our composure: the unexpected phone calls, the interruptions that add or postpone your to-do list, the change of plans because some people are unorganized.

These are the moments when being humble matters the most.

There are the moments when being gentle makes all the difference.

These are the moments when others will recognize that the patience you are extending to them is not natural but God given.

These are the moments Jesus shines bright through you.

May you so confidently know who you are in Christ that you are able to gracefully engage with all that challenges it today.

Your chance

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Your chance to shine will look different than you think it does.

It comes when you are grumpy and tired. It comes when you’ve spent your energy and are way done.

You can do pretty well with expected opportunities to shine. You can plan and prepare. Maybe even practice a bit in your mind and go through the situation a few times mentally.

But the very best time to shine your light is when there is no plan.

When it is inconvenient.

When people are demanding and immature.

When you are with people who have already spent the allotted amount of patience for them.

These are the moments Jesus shines through you.

“If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!”   Matthew 5:16 MSG

So shine bright, my friend, this dark world needs you to.

Called to Climb

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“When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him.”

Matthew 5:1-2 MSG

Sometimes Jesus calls you to climb with Him.
He draws you away from the noise of the crowds to a quiet place where He can speak to you.
It is a place that you can hear Him clearly with no distractions.
Some mistake these times for loneliness when really God is trying to get your attention.
He wants to show you something.
I don’t love hiking (a.k.a. climbing a mountain) but I know this:
• It forces me out of my comfort zone
• I get to see things I have never seen before
• It causes muscles to form that I never knew existed
• My breathing capacity is expanded and heart is strengthened
Jesus loved crowds. He taught them, healed them and fed them. But the teaching He was about to give was not for the crowds, it was for the climbers.
When Jesus calls you to climb with Him, you can bet that it is for your benefit.
You can also bet that it isn’t going to be easy.
Nothing worth having comes easy.
When Jesus calls you to climb higher it is to make you stronger.
If you are feeling lost in the crowd, maybe it is because you don’t belong there.
You belong to Jesus and He is calling you higher.
What you learn climbing the mountain with Jesus changes your life in the valley.
What mountain is Jesus calling you to climb with Him today?

Faithful

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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.

Psalm 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. 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.

 

New in You

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You are a new creation in Christ.
This statement is not past tense. It doesn’t say you were a new creation the second you got saved and from that moment you have been getting old again.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”   2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
No, the Word says you are a new creation. Present tense.
What does God do? 
He creates “new” in you:
A new mentality.
A new habit.
A new hope.
A new attitude.
A new love.
A new life.
God is presently re-creating you today.
You can confidently let go of “what-ifs” and embrace the possibilities with Jesus of “what is”.
That doesn’t mean you’re perfect but that you are present and open to living new, now.
You are made new in Christ.
May you live fully in Christ today and discover the wonder of the new things He wants to do.
Are you caught in the doldrums of “what ifs”?
What “new” does God want to do in you? 

It’s Not That Kind of Test

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“We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”
1 Thessalonians 2:4 NIV
When God “tests” your heart, it isn’t a test to pass or fail. It is a purifying of the soul.
“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.”  ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬
The crucible is a vessel that can take extreme heat and not melt. It is used to melt the silver so that the impurities of the precious metal will rise to the top. Then the refiner will skim it off the top.
It is the same with your heart. The Great Refiner will use the hot fires of life to cause the impurities in your heart to be revealed so He can clear them out.
He will bring to the surface the things that are holding you back from loving freely, what is tripping you up in your relationships, what is sabotaging your peace.
Things that don’t belong there but have never been processed out.
Your job is to stay in His Hand, deal with what comes up (which almost always begins with repentance or forgiveness) and allow the healing balm of His love to make you new.
How is your heart? 
What is Jesus bringing up? 
What do you need to do with it?