Awake and Aware

Tuesday

But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:11 MSG‬‬

If you are aware of anything today – be aware of God.

If you are afraid of anything – be afraid of getting so busy making a living that you miss making a life.

If you have to make a do to list – put “recognizing God ‘s presence” in the top spot.

Take care of whatever you need to take care of today but make sure to make room for God to interrupt, intervene, and weave Himself into each thing you do with His love, His mercy, His perspective, His grace, His strength and His joy.

If you are wondering whether God is present in your life, He is and He longs to connect with you. You are one of His favorites.

What does being aware of God mean to you?

Have you been so distracted that you are oblivious to God?

May the awareness of God supersede all else as you are embraced by a Savior who loves you unconditionally and completely.

I Desire

Monday

I’ve learned that my desires are not good taskmasters but they do make great idols.  They also make flawed foundations for a relationship with God or anyone else.

I’m not saying that your desires are bad, in fact, I believe that the Lord puts loads of good desires in your heart: the desire to love and be loved, to connect and be connected to,  to cherish and to be cherished.  What I am saying is that if the focus of your life is getting your desires met that you will be miserable and probably not even know why.

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”‭‭

Psalm‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Which side of the comma are you living in?

Take delight in the Lord,

or

And he will give you the desires of your heart?

Delight, desires.

What you focus on determines how you experience your life.

When you are focusing on delighting (joy, great enjoyment, and pleasure) in the Lord, the world will seem like a wide-open space for you to experience with someone you love.

When you focus on the desires of your heart, the world can seem like a small closed space in which you can only see what you don’t have and experience and envy what everyone else seems to have.

Living on the delight side of the comma means that your focus is on your relationship with God and being delighted in Him, by Him and with Him and trusting Him with the rest.

There is sweet freedom found in delighting in your relationship with God while letting Him hold all your desires to do what He may. He is a good Father and knows you more than you know yourself.

How are you delighting in the Lord?

What is making you miserable?

What side of the comma are you living on?

Time to Thrive

Friday.2
Your motives are the “why” behind the “what” of your life.
When you are soul drained, your “why” is to survive, to make it through one more day.
Survival is a good “why” but it is not meant to be your permanent state of being.
God has more for you today.
He is the God of inside workings, attitude makeovers, perspective shifters.
He is the forgiving God, the wipe the slate clean and start over God.
He is the miracle-making God and the create something out of nothing God.
Your Heavenly Father created you in love, to love, and to be loved.
God so loved you that He sent His Son as a sacrifice to restore you to Himself.
He didn’t 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.
May the God of the inside workings move you from surviving to thriving.
May the forgiving God 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 up with so much of His love that it overflows onto all those around you.
Are you living in survival mode or love mode? 

The Gift of You

Thursday
God has given you gifts. 
All kinds. 
Some come as talent.
Others are revealed in character. 
Some are gifts to you as well as through you that bring such joy that you can’t wait to share them.
Some are so close to your heart that you are afraid to reveal them. 
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.
Salt is made for seasoning.
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.
“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
The gifts you have been given are to be given away: to serve, to love, to mend, to tend, to bless, to build.
What gift is Jesus asking you to give today?
What opportunities is He giving you to bring the uniqueness of you into?

What Defines You.

Wednesday.2

“He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said.”    

Romans‬ ‭4:19‬ ‭MSG

There comes a point in life that your faith becomes stronger by facing the facts, not weaker.

The facts may not be friendly or encouraging or what you want to face but as a child of God, you can face them. You can deal with reality instead of running from it.

How? By knowing that your circumstances do not define you, God does.

God chose you. 

God loves you.

That thing that God has called you to? You can’t make it happen but He can.

To be who God has created you to be you are going to have to let go of  “doing your best” and embrace “depending on God”.

You new life in God’s family isn’t “success and failure” based.

It isn’t “today, I did a good job”  so I’m feeling good or “I totally messed up ” and being depressed.

You will do a good job. You will make mistakes. This is not about denying how you feel. It is about allowing God’s feelings for you to be the foundation of how you experience your life.

His part is to guide and provide, your part is to follow and trust.

In Jesus, you have full rights as a child of God to live fully persuaded that God is able to do above and beyond all you can ask or imagine. 

He is able.

What are you asking for?

What are you imagining?

What are you trusting God in today?

When You Are Tired

Rest.Tuesday.3

Life often demands that you keep going even when you are tired.

When you are burdened with grief, you still have to go to work.

When you are battling anxiety,  someone still has to do the dishes.

When you are restless to go but must stay right where you are.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Jesus invites us to walk with Him, work with Him, and watch how He lives in the fullness of God’s love every day while bearing a great burden.

Your world may be dripping with unmet expectations, foundation-shaking experiences, and unbearable obligations.

Or it may be boring and frustrating with endless monotony.

Whatever is happening around you, Jesus wants to do a work in you.

Jesus is saying, “I will take your burden and you can have my strength. I lived loved, am dripping with grace, burdened with divinely appointed purpose, and wrapped in a deep peace that is not moved by the tumultuous circumstances happening around me.” You can live this way too – that is why I came, died, and rose again. Bring me all of you and all that you carry. I will carry it for you.”

My friend, I know you are tired today.

Don’t give up.

Don’t do this alone.

“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”
1 Peter 5:7 AMPC

Give Jesus your burden today and let Him watch over you.

He was made for it.

 

 

Unlimited and Glorious

Monday
“I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.”
Ephesians 3:16 NLT
God has glorious and unlimited resources for you today.

You have His strength to love, to walk, to work, to hold on to hope and let go of fear.

You have His grace to cover your mistakes and feed your compassion.

You have His joy to see the ordinary beauty of humanity that is all around you.

You have His kindness to be gentle with those who are closest to you.

You have His vision to see others as He does and love them appropriately.

You are empowered to live loved as a child of God and do His will on earth as it is in heaven.

Not by your strength but by His.

Not from your limited resources, but from His unlimited and glorious resources.

Not so you will “look strong”  on the outside but so that you will “be strong” on the inside.
Receive it.
Rest in it.
Walk in it.
You have so much more at your disposal than you realize.
You have Jesus and He brings all heaven with Him.

A Simple No

Friday

“Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ be ‘No.”’

Matthew 5:37 NKJV

No.

A simple answer but rarely an easy one.

At some point, you will need to say NO to good things so you can say YES to the things God is calling you to.

For those who are challenged by saying “NO”, here are ten different ways to say it:

1. I would prefer another option.

2. I would love to say yes to everything, but that would be stupid.

3. Someone would be awesome at this, I am not that person.

4. Some things have come up that need my attention.

5. We should rethink this.

6. My instincts tell me I’m just not suitable for this.

7. It would cause the slow withering death of my soul.

8. Um, no.

9. My plate is already full but I will be happy to suggest somebody else’s plate to put it on.

10. No, I’m doing all I can right now but thank you for giving me the opportunity.

What do you need to say “NO” to in order to make room for the right “Yes”?

Gentleness

Thursday

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When I am stressed, gentleness is not my go-to mode of operation. Frustrated, fearful, anxious, and taking control is.

The original Greek word used for gentleness in the verse above describes the heart of someone who will let God fight his battles for Him. It describes a person who has let go of trying to control the situation and allowed God to do what He needs to do through Him.

Jesus showed us what this kind of gentleness looks like. He focused on His relationship with His Father and only did what God directed Him to. He did not bend to peer pressure, comparison, or even try to fit in with anyone other than His Father. He didn’t try to control the situations or people. He focused on being faithful to the part He was given to do and allowed God to work out the rest. 

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:29‬ ‭NIV‬‬

He leads gently so that you can live gently.

Gentle is not weak it is focused trust as well as a deep knowing of who you are and whose you are.

My friend, may you begin to learn to live in the power of leading a gentle life by being yoked and yielded to the gentle Savior today.

Words of the Wise

Wednesday
“Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭12:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬
Your words hold power.
They set the tone of the conversation.
They communicate your vision.
They can encourage and lift up or they can destroy trust, discourage, and complicate the entire situation.
Before you speak, ask yourself if your words are going to help the situation or hurt it?
When in doubt, don’t say anything at all.
Spend your time speaking the words you want to say and applying self-control to the ones you don’t.
My friend, may your words bring healing to those who desperately need it today and empower those around you to be courageous in pursuing the potential God has put in them.