It’s Going to be a Bumpy Ride…

You have been redeemed by Jesus to live a God discovering, God serving, God-ordained life.

But that doesn’t mean it is easy. 

There will be storms that you must go through.

There will be higher altitudes to climb to.

There will be unexpected turbulence along the way.

I dislike turbulence. It’s always unexpected and it always makes me feel afraid as the plane passes through it before it returns to normal.

God doesn’t cause the disruptions but He will use them, if you let Him.

He will use them to teach you how not to give up.

He will use them to strengthen your faith.

He will use them to forge your character.

“And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2-4 NIV

My friend, Jesus knows where you are on the journey and what is disrupting it. He is with you and will not leave you in it. Hold onto the truth of His love and let that truth bloom into hope.

The turbulence will cease and you will get to where God wants you to be.

Fruitless…

 

Jesus had a teaching moment with His disciples that is easy to miss and easy to misunderstand. 

On His was to cleanse the Temple, Jesus spoke these words to a fig tree: “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” (Mark 11:14)

You see, the tree was advertising that it had fruit with its full leaves. When He checked it, the tree had none and Jesus is not a fan of false advertising.  

On their way back, they saw that it had withered to its roots and was utterly dead.  

The world says fake it until you make it but God is never okay with us pretending that everything is okay when it is not.

He would rather that we would be honest and say to Him, “I’ve got nothing today and I need help.”

My friend, you do not ever have to “fake it until you make it” with God. Be honest with Him today knowing that He is ready to give you what you need.

Time to Climb

“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.

He draws you away from the noise of the crowds to a quiet place where He can speak to you.

A place that you can hear Him clearly with no distractions.

He wants to show you something new.

Jesus loved the 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 there will change your life.

What mountain is Jesus calling you to climb with Him today?

Conflict and Such

Friday

I love this proverb. It brings a smile to my face every time I see it and reminds me that I don’t need to spend time or energy focusing on drama that I have nothing to do with. 

But what if it is my circus and they are definitely my monkeys?

I am implored by God to deal with it.

Paul the apostle had to deal with lots of drama in the beginning years of the birth of the Church (and so have Pastors and leaders ever since). 

In fact, being a leader (especially in your own life) means you deal with conflict- that is your job. 

This is what Paul tells the church in Corinth: 

“But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 
What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit? (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭19-21‬ NIV)

If your monkeys are pulling out your hair, you need to stop them and tell them that it is not okay to do that. 

You teach what you allow. 

Don’t deny it.
Don’t enable it.
Deal with it (with God).

Embrace your circus and your monkeys. 

God has given them to you.

He sees what is happening and will give you what you need to do what needs to be done.

Walk In Love

 

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”
2 John 1:6 NIV

Love always takes a step of faith.

It always feels like a risk.

It is always worth it.

Jesus died for you so that you could live in the fullness and freedom of His love.

God will work in you but He will not walk for you.

That is up to you.

What does walking in love mean to you today?

 

Faith Full

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.

Hold Tight to Hope

“Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:23 ‭MSG

What promise are you holding onto today?

For me, it is this one:

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

 ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This scripture reminds me God will finish the work of restoration He began when I gave Him my life.   He started it, His work will continue it and He will complete it.  My life, His work. 

It is a reminder that it is not my work that completes me but His.

My life’s work is to focus on my relationship with Him. 

What a great job description: grow my relationship with God and let Him grow me.

What promise keeps you going?

What word are you holding on to right now? 

Jesus is able and faithful to keep His promises to you. 

Hold tight to Him and trust Him to hold tight to you.

You Are So Loved

“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” Thessalonians 3:4-6 NIV

Jesus loves you so much that just a glimpse of it is powerful enough to start an avalanche of transformation in your heart.

It changes you. It gives you hope.

It makes you want more of His love and He wants to give it to you.

Take a walk or take some time away from everything and ask Jesus to fill you with the truth of His overwhelming love for you.

Grab your glimpse and let it fill your soul.

Trust God

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Whatever today brings, I want to remind you to trust God in it.

Trust that He has your present provided for. Jesus will give you what you need when you need it to deal with what is happening right now.

Trust that He will heal your past. There is no sin stronger than the blood of Jesus and there is no hurt His love can’t heal.

Trust that He has your future in the palm of His hand. Jesus is preparing a place for you and preparing you for the place. Stressing about it helps no one. Rest in Him and wait.

Take a deep breath and fix your eyes on Jesus. 

Trust Jesus.

Living Humbly

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.

It is about identity and living out of it.

It is knowing who Jesus is and knowing who you are in Him:

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 you can lead others without being bossy.

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 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 you today.