Yes, This

“I am the Lordʼs servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:38‬ ‭NIV‬‬
May your word to me be fulfilled.
Yes, this.
How many times have you wished that the Lord would show up and just tell you what was about to happen? You think that maybe if you knew what would happen, you would be better prepared to handle it.
Mary had that opportunity. The Lord showed up and told her what her story would be. She would be “the virgin” of Isaiah 7:14. Mary was a good Jewish girl, she would know what that meant.  It is one thing to know what it means and another to live through it.
She would be rejected before she was accepted, desperate before she was provided for, slandered long before she was ever believed. She knew the road before her would not be easy and the story she had imagined for her life would be drastically different…but she said yes.
She said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled”.
Yes, this:
– Saying yes when you know it will be hard.
– Trusting God when things are not happening the way you thought they would.
– Following God when He leads you to stop what you’re doing with no discernible reason.
I believe it is the great mercy of God that He leads us one step at a time.
I believe God has a plan for your life and is able to bring it to pass.
I believe it will be harder than you thought it would be but more worth it than you can imagine.
Yes, this. 
Don’t be afraid. God will empower you to walk in His purposes and guide you faithfully through every challenge that comes.
You will never really know what God can do through you unless you say yes to Him like this.
Be brave. Say yes.
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Tested

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬
The Lord tests the heart of His child not so He can discover what is in it but so you can.
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 you can see them and so He can clear them.
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.
Don’t be alarmed when Jesus brings uncomfortable and unsightly things to the surface. It is His work and His way to answer the prayer you prayed.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭51:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
He creates a pure heart, a clean heart, by bringing up what doesn’t belong there.
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?

How You See

Perspective is powerful.
Perspective impacts everything:
Your attitude.
Your thought life.
How you see others.
How you see yourself.
Jesus talked a lot about seeing your life from God’s perspective.
He said,
“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:22-23‬ ‭MSG‬‬
When you live your life from heaven’s perspective and look to Jesus for help to do it, you can be filled with hope, vision, and fulfillment.
When you live your life from earth’s viewpoint and look to those around you to help, you can be filled with depression, disappointment, and dissatisfaction.
Jesus is the light of the world and it is his desire to fill your spirit, soul, and body with the uncontainable light of his love. 
That is why he came to earth as a babe. This is why we celebrate Christmas – to not just remember it but to experience it every day. To experience life with him every day.
What perspective are you viewing your life from?
How do you need Jesus today? 
How can I pray for you?

Permission to Rest

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Rest doesn’t have a season.

It isn’t optional.

You need it, every day.

Not just your body but also your soul, spirit, and mind.

“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭34:21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

You need to rest, refresh, recharge in all seasons, especially in the busiest ones.

It isn’t optional. It’s how God made you and it is the way to optimize the gifts He has given you to fulfill the purpose He has placed before you.

What refreshes your spirit?

What rejuvenates your mind?

What feeds your soul?

You are Made New

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:
The old has gone, the new is here!”
2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
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.
No, the Word says you are a new creation. Present tense.
What does God want to do today? 
He wants to create a new thing in you:
A new mentality.
A new habit.
A new hope.
A new attitude.
A new love.
A new life.
You don’t have to be caught in the momentum of past habits or past regrets, past failures or past mistakes. The past is over. You don’t live there. You live here and now in Christ.
Let go of “what-ifs” and embrace the possibilities with Jesus in “what is”.
That doesn’t mean you’re perfect but that you are present and open to living new, now.
Are you caught in the doldrums of “what ifs”?
What does letting go of the past mean to you?
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.

Just Walking Here

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”     ‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Walking is a pretty mundane activity.
It’s not as glamorous as running. I’ve always wanted to be a runner but am definitely not one.
I am simply a very good walker.
Walking is what you learn early by falling down a lot.
It is what gets you to the kitchen in the morning for your first cup of coffee.
It is basic and boring and taken for granted unless you can’t do it anymore.
Charles Spurgeon said,
“That man has not yet learned the true spirit of Christianity who is always saying, ‘I can preach a sermon by faith.’ Yes, sir, but can you make a coat by faith? ‘Can you cook a dinner by faith?”.
The real work of life isn’t using your gifts by faith but living your life by it…walking by faith. Paying your bills, doing your job, cooking dinner, cleaning the toilet by faith.
Knowing that in these small necessary everyday things you are creating a life of
acknowledging that God’s power is revealed not just in the great but in the small. Not just in the extraordinary but in the absolutely ordinary.
It is when God’s grace and power are evident in washing the dishes, which for some may be easy but for others, it is an arduous and overwhelming task when you are tired and spent.
It is when you stop yourself from going all buck wild on the attitude you just received from your teenager and pray for wisdom instead of retribution to be rained drown on their heads.
It is when Christmas isn’t working out to be what you hoped for but you are able to roll with the punches and still enjoy the special moments that would otherwise be buried in resentment and disappointment.
That is when faith leads your life instead of sight. When what you see does not dictate how you behave, in small dull moments as well as big exciting ones.
It isn’t very exciting but it is totally life-giving.
Don’t worry about running your faith race today, just focus on walking it out faithfully.
Love you.
Today may you walk slowly, steadily and consistently in faith in who Jesus is, what he has done and in who he is re-creating you to be.

The Best R and R

Right in the middle of the busiest season of the year, I want to remind you that the most powerful thing you can do right now is rest and repent.
Rest in God’s grace.
Repent of self-effort.
A repentance of striving.
Resting from perfect image making.
A deep down rest that knows and is confident that God will fulfill His Word in you and in your life.
It is a confidence not born of flesh or work but from the Spirit and grace.
It is a trust so sure that a quietness envelopes your soul.
You will be able to rest in the midst of conflict.
To be quiet in the midst of chaos.
This kind of rest doesn’t come from removing all strife from your life, it comes from being obedient in the midst of it. It comes from doing the hard work and walking out the hard choices of trusting God’s way instead of your own.
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Repentance is acknowledging that all your dizzying efforts to make your life happen your way will only cause strife, fear, and pain.
Salvation comes from repentance and rest.
Strength comes from quietness and trust.
What do you need to repent of today?
How are you going to rest in God’s grace today?