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. 

What Are You Thinking?

Tuesday

“For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:5-6‬ ‭NET‬‬

There is a war for your thoughts and for your imagination.  God gave you the ability to imagine and shape your thoughts.  He gave you the ability to imagine your day, your tomorrow, your future.

Many people believe that you can’t control your thoughts or the direction of them but that is not what the Bible says in the verse above.

The imagination nourished by the Spirit of God is life and peace.

The imagination shaped by the flesh is fear and death.

The thing is, you get to choose.

You have free will and God will never take it from you.
What you think, how you think is up to you.

This is not about creating your future with positive thoughts. This is about consciously choosing to fix your mind on Jesus Christ and allowing Him to shape your outlook.

“Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NET‬‬

You have permission, my friend, to take a mental vacation from fear and set your imagination free to dream some God-sized dreams today.

Where is your head?

What is it filled with?

What does it mean for you to set your imagination free and let God dream for your life?

Commit It

Monday
Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.”
Psalm 37:5  NKJV
When you commit your way to the Lord, you are putting the direction, the journey, the destination into His care.
Commit your path, your direction, your next step to God.
It is about taking action.
When I mail a letter, I’m taking action. I’m letting go. I’m trusting that the postman or woman will get it to where it needs to go.
You can’t mail a letter if you hold on to the edge of it.
Give your future to God. I know it is scary. I know you don’t know what will happen. I know you feel out of control. God has given you a specific kind of control: self-control. 
Use it.
Pry your fingers off the fears you have for your future and give them to Jesus.
Lay down the cherished dreams of a perfect life and roll those over to Jesus as well.
Your expectation of a perfect life without pain or heartache is not reality and doesn’t help you deal with it. Jesus will help you deal with the reality you are facing today.
Let go.
Trust also in Him. 
Focus on your relationship with Jesus and let Jesus focus on your future.
And He shall bring it to pass.
The phrase in English “He shall bring it to pass” is actually just one word in Hebrew,      “asa”, which means that God He will assemble, accomplish, create, and produce it. He shall attend to you, bring it about His way and ordain you to walk in it.
My friend, begin your week by committing your way – where you are going and how you will get there- to Jesus. He is trustworthy. He will show you how.
It is only when I commit my journey (and re-commit it hourly) to the Lord that I am free to focus on doing good where I am instead of being anxious about an uncertain future.

Restoring Joy

Friday

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭51:12‬ ‭NIV

Today I am praying for the wind of restoration to sweep away the cobwebs of the fear and regret that are clinging to your soul.

I am praying for the worries and wonderings of “what if’s” be swept away because what is done is done and today is a new day.

Today is a new day to invite God in.

Today is a new day to embrace the hope you have in Jesus.

Today is your new day to walk in the power and purpose of God.

Put all your yesterdays and tomorrows into God’s hands – He is big enough to handle them. 

May you live fully filled up with God’s peace and have a willing spirit to fully engage in what God has given you to do today.

When To Be Thankful

Thursday
“Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭AMPC‬‬
If you are waiting until your life is perfect to be thankful, you are missing your life.

When is it the right time to be thankful?

Right now.
When is it the right time to shift your focus from what God should be doing “out there” to what God wants to do “in here” (points to self)?
This minute.
Don’t wait one more second.
Be thankful for the imperfect now.
Be thankful for the imperfect you.
Jesus is.
He loves you as you are today and He will work with you to grow you into who He created you to be.
Jesus is using your imperfect life and imperfect self to do a beautiful perfect redeeming work in you.
Let Him.
May you let go of all you can’t control today and give yourself permission to enjoy the imperfect now, embrace your imperfect story and lift your soul up to your perfect, loving, amazing, forgiving, life-giving God.

An Act of Faith

Wednesday

“By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going.”

Hebrews 11:8 MSG

God has a rich inheritance waiting to be claimed by you today.

It is the inheritance of an unhindered relationship with Him. One where you are free to trust, risk, follow, and be used by God to bless others in ways you can’t even imagine.

Abraham left his country behind to go after His God-given destiny.

My friend, God is not calling you to physically leave where you are but I know He is calling you spiritually, emotionally, or mentally into a new place of faith.

To get where God has called you, you have to leave the place you are in.

He is calling you today by leaving the shelter of some strategic comfort zones that have been keeping you stuck right where you are:

  1. life as you know it
  2. habits that hold you hostage
  3. mindsets that mold your world

The good news is that for every comfort zone you step out of, Jesus has a promise for you to step into and His love to guide you.

God is calling you to an unknown place that will become your home. More than a new plot of land, it is a new way of life.

May your courage grow as you bravely choose to step out of your strategic comfort zones one “act of faith” at a time.

 

What “way of life” needs to go by the wayside today?

What habit is holding you hostage?

What mindset is holding you back from going after what God has called you to?

 

Don’t Let Fear Stop You

Tuesday

“By an act of faith, he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents.”  Hebrews 11: 8 MSG

Fear will hold you captive in your comfort zone.

The only way to break fear’s hold is by an act of faith.

To go after all that God has called you to, you are going to have to move beyond the fear that holds you there.

Fear can be overwhelming when it is a general mass of unknown anxiety so you need to name it.  

What are you afraid will happen when you step out in faith?

Define it or one part of it.

Narrow it down.

Find the core.

But know this: facing the fear doesn’t take away the emotion of fear but it allows you to see what it is and lie behind it.

When you name the fear you disarm it of its power but it takes a while for your emotions to fall in line with your faith.

You may not know where your journey will end up but you can be sure that God will be there with you every step of the way.

God is calling you forward, don’t let fear stop you today.

Faith is choosing to trust God with the path, the detours, the disasters and yes, the destiny of where you will end up.

Courage is feeling the fear and stepping out in faith anyway. 

What is God calling you to do? 

What is stopping you from stepping out in faith?

What is the name of your fear?

 

The Impossible Dream

Monday

By faith, barren Sarah was able to become pregnant, old woman as she was at the time, because she believed the One who made a promise would do what he said.  Hebrews 11:11 MSG

We are born dreamers.

As children, we see that world around us and dream about being a part of it. We dream about what our place in the world will be, what we will do, and who we might become.

The dreams revolve around us and what it will mean for us if those dreams come true.

As we grow up, there are some dreams that hold onto us more than we hold onto them.

It is those dreams that feel devastating when they shatter and remain unfulfilled.

We put them in the realm of impossible.

When the Lord told Abraham that Sarah would give birth, she overheard it and laughed (Genesis 18:11).  She laughed not because she thought it was funny but because she thought it ludicrous. The dream of having children probably died when she was in her 60s or 70s.  She had accepted her barrenness.

My friend, God often challenges what you have already accepted.

He will speak a word to you that seems impossible.

Something that seems ludicrous.

Something that you gave up on and now He is asking you to pick up again.

He is asking you to dream again but this time to dream it differently.

How? By placing your hope not in what the dream will do for you but in what God wants to do through you.

God asked Sarah to dream again. She knew she could not make it happen, she already tried. But somewhere deep inside she chose to trust God to do the impossible.

My friend, put your hope in God today.

And when He calls you to dream again, say yes.