Crowds and Climbers

 

“When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions.”

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. 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. Something powerful that will transform your loneliness to fruitfulness and aimless wandering to a guided thriving abundant life.
I don’t love hiking (a.k.a. climbing a mountain) but the pros outweigh the cons:
• 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 here 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 worthwhile 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. He is calling you to step out of the crowd and become a climber
What you learn climbing the mountain with Jesus changes your life in the valley.
Choose today.
Take the first step.
Take the risk.
It will stretch you.
It will challenge you. It will change your perspective.
It will expand your heart.
What mountain is Jesus calling you to climb with him today?
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Getting Back to the Basics

So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus.

 2 Peter 1:5-9 MSG

Whenever you feel lost and unsure of how to start up again, go back to the basics.
Basic Faith – the first step, the abandoned sin, throwing of oneself upon the mercy of God and walking forward into the unseen with the belief that you are not alone to develop.
Good Character – staying true to what you believe in the little things and letting those small choices of integrity overflow into the big things as you grow.
Spiritual Understanding – the moments you can’t explain, but know are true.
Alert Discipline – not allowing time, tiredness, busyness, past baggage, old excuses erode right habits, receiving grace and energy from God.
Passionate Patience – being able to expectantly wait for one thing while wholehearted working for another. Choosing to focus on being obedient, not on the results of being obedient.
Reverent Wonder – the awe of seeing God with the wide eyes of a childlike heart.
Warm Friendliness – the smile, the hug, the gentle knowing atmosphere of those who are confidently walking in their purpose.
Generous Love – being able to love those closest to us without fear or conditional embraces and the ability to love those we barely know with an authenticity that only comes from intimately knowing God.
These are my own definitions of the list of things to build on in 2 Peter 1:5. A way for me to see if I am working on and walking in them or maybe missing one or two of them.
These are not a to-do list by a Jesus-help-me-be list.
May you find your way back to the basics and thrive by the grace of God in each one today.

Priority

Did you know that when the word “priority” was introduced and used in English that is was not plural? It was was only singular as in “what is your top priority or your priority for today?

Over time, it became plural as now we have five top priorities rather than one. Our culture is now more about trying to figure what is the top priority out of the five top things that must be done today.

I vote that we make priority singular again, especially now as we are waist deep in the holiday season.

I don’t know about you, but it is so easy for me to fall prey to “just surviving” and then being sucked into everyone else’s crisis of the moment and it ramps up even more during this season.

Along with the sweet memories being made during the holidays comes the stress of added parties, stretched finances, being exhausted and days that fly by in the blink of an eye.

It is so easy to forget that if you are empty, you will have nothing to give others. Before you make your to-do list today put time with God in the number one spot.

Make your relationship with God your first and only priority. Spend some time with your Dad. Let Him love you.

“Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”

Matthew 6:30-33 MSG

Today, may your soul be filled with His presence and may your heart be overflowing with His love.

Spend some time just being His kid and you will be pleasantly surprised by how that changes everything.

Happy Monday!

The Moment

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Thank you! Everything in me says “Thank you!” …Thank you for your love, thank you for your faithfulness; Most holy is your name, most holy is your Word.

The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength.” Psalm 138:1-3 MSG

‬‬The true secret of “living large” isn’t about outside income, it is about inside strength.

The strength that is accessed through spontaneous worship- the ability to see and recognize what God has given you and what He is doing.

The strength that comes from the truth of God’s Word impacting and changing your life.

The strength that comes from gratitude.

Gratitude that changes your perspective to see the abundance you have instead of focusing on what you lack. It opens your eyes to see the possibilities instead of the problems.

Where worry constricts your heart, thanks-giving worship expands it.

The moment you cry out to God in weakness, He meets you with His strength.

May you call out to Jesus and be filled with gratitude, worship and divine strength to be who He has created you to be today. 

Great is His Faithfulness

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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.

Psalms 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 precious, 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.

The Key to Victory

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“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:29‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Real strength doesn’t come from pretending you have it but in admitting that you don’t.

Real power comes from knowing you can’t do this on your own and that you need help.

Needing Jesus every day is not admitting defeat.

It is the key to victory.

A Story of Grace

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Just like a pencil in the hand of an artist or writer, it is a tool to tell a powerful story.  Your life, in the hands of God, is a story of grace waiting to be written.

You have been carefully chosen,  gently held, are directed and purposed in the Hand of God to be used by Him, where you are.

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:9-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The most powerful thing you can do today is to surrender completely, restfully and trust Him to guide you to be an instrument of hope, love, encouragement, and strength to those around you. God knows where you are.

“I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.” – Mother Teresa

You are a pencil in the hand of a writing God…what story of grace will He tell through your life today?