Your Front Yard

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“The perceptive find wisdom in their own front yard; fools look for it everywhere but right here.”  Proverbs 17:24 MSG

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ“.    Ephesians 1:3 NIV

In Christ, God has already given you what you need to fulfill His call for your life and it starts in your own front yard.

Are you looking everywhere but “right here” for what you should do today?

A better question is “how should you live today”?

The answers you are seeking are found not by looking at others lives or comparing yourself to them. They are not discovered by wishing away your life or wanting someone else’s. This is your life.  If you want to change it, change it.

God will not call you to live someone else’s life but He will call you to fully live yours.

You don’t need more stuff, you need clear vision.

Ask Jesus to open your eyes to your own “front yard” and wisdom He has placed there to live the life He has created you to live.

What is holding you back from fully living your life?

What has Jesus put right in front of you?

What miracle are you living?

Not Empty Handed

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“And when you release them, do not send them away empty-handed.”

Deuteronomy 15:13 NIV

My friend, when you have been released to live a new life in Christ you do not begin your new life empty-handed.

In the Old Testament when God laid out to the Israelites how their community would work, He put in a clause to assure that those who found themselves in desperate financial situations would have a way out. If they sold themselves into slavery to survive, they would not have to stay a slave forever – it could only last 7 years. Then their owner must release the slave and send them away with the means to begin a new life.

It was called The Lord’s Release.

Jesus is the fulfillment of The Lord’s Release.

God will use what the enemy meant for harm to bring you good and fill your hands with blessings.

God will give you what you need when you need it.

You are not empty handed as a child of God.

He may not show you the end of the new road you are on but He will give you the strength to take each step on it.

You are provided for, equipped and empowered to walk in freedom in Christ today.

Go after all God has called you to do!

 

A Seed

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“I tell you the truth unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.

Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.”

‭‭John‬ ‭12:24-25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

A seed is a small packet of untapped life that will stay small with unknown potential until it is buried in the dark earth, crushed by the weight and broken open. Only then does the life within it break free to grow into what it was originally intended to become.

We try to hold it all together and hold on to our lives so fiercely when the very best thing is to let it go.

Let it change.

Let God have it all to do with as He wants.

We try to avoid situations that crush us but God will use those very things to unlock the amazing potential that He has put there. He will use it to loosen our grip on this life and show us that there is so much more of it than we can imagine.

Seeds are better when they are planted, crushed, broken and nourished to grow.

So are we.

It goes against what we think of Christianity until you look at the cross.

Until you look at the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. His glory wrapped in flesh, his body broken and crushed by our sin, three days in the dark grave only to rise and change the course of history. To redeem humanity. You rescue the drowning and restore fallen mankind to God.

In our attempt to hold onto “our” lives, we may miss the great blessing of them. We may rob others of the impact Christ can have thru us because we want to live our life, our way.  Safe, secure, planned, ordered.

But the moment we give our lives to Christ and He becomes Lord, it changes. It is no longer our life but His. No longer our ways but His. Not safe, not secure, not planned but we are planted, crushed and broken. Then nourished to break through and become all Jesus has made us for.

 

This thing that is crushing you just may be God’s way of planting you right smack dab in the middle of His plan for your life.

Let go of your plans and hold fiercely to His love.

The very best is yet to come.

Have an amazing Monday my friend.

Just Do It

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“But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.”
(James 1:25 MSG)

You don’t have to have the whole plan to implement what God has shown you.

Even a glimpse of what God wants for your life can be powerful enough to start an avalanche of transformation.

Action trumps intention every time.

Intentions do not lead to freedom, actions do.

Intentions do not bring joy and blessings, actions do.

Intention does nothing for you or those around you, actions do.

Act on it.

Make that phone call.

Ask that person for forgiveness.

Give that small gift.

Take a walk.

Speak the truth…in love.

It doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be done.

Mourning

While my family was away celebrating the joy of being together at Disneyland at the end of November, we got a call to let us know that a dear lady in our congregation had passed away. She was a bright light, always ready with a cheerful smile and a word of encouragement. I didn’t know her well but I loved her nonetheless. I think the last time I saw her, she grabbed me in the hallway of the office, gave me a hug and told me how much she loved reading this blog. I didn’t know she was reading it and was so encouraged by her enthusiastic embrace.

Right before I got up to speak last Friday night, I thought of her and that smile of hers. She would have been there. Tears filled my eyes and a moment of missing her rose up with a potent strength. My vision blurred a bit and I quickly moved to focusing my mind on my intro. I couldn’t very well begin my message by weeping. That would be weird and a lot to explain to the guests. But I missed her being there. I have no doubt that she is gloriously free and dancing on streets of heaven. I am sure she is delighted to be there but we miss her here. Moments of mourning are moments of missing.

In my own devotions, I have been sitting on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. I have stayed on “Blessed are the poor in spirit” for a while. It is truly been a blessing to grasp this truth and make it apart of me. It is delightful to admit daily that I’ve got nothing and open up myself to receive God’s everything.

But what do I do with the next one?

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4 NIV)

I always kind of took the statements Jesus made her as stand alone statements, kind of like wise words or something. I always thought this “blessed mourning” was a paradox. Where is the blessing when you feel bereft? How do receive comfort when you are overcome with the sadness of missing someone who will not return? As death is a part of life, so grieving is apart of living. We are mortal beings with a limit on our time here, our time together.

In studying this “sermon”, I have discovered that Jesus was not talking about mourning the loss of a loved one. There is comfort for those walking through a season of grief but that is not what Jesus is speaking of here. The statements of the Sermon on the Mount are not stand alone but linked to each other. You can not understand one without the context of the one before it.

Blessed are the poor in spirit…blessed are those that mourn.

You don’t fully admit that you “have nothing” in you until the truth of it overwhelms you. You can’t truly take all God has for you until you are emptied of your self sufficiency. That is not a joy filled experience. There is a mourning that takes hold of the heart that sees the lie the world proclaims of “you can do it, you have what you need inside of you, if you dig deep enough you will find the strength you need to rise above your circumstances and thriveas a lie.

The truth:
• I can’t do it with God.
• I don’t have what I need inside of me.
• If I dig deep enough, I will only find more junk or a coping mechanism that harms me in the long run.
I am wretchedly weak in the strongest moments of living in my own strength.

When I embrace this truth, I am able to lay down me and lay hold of God. So while this “blessed mourning” isn’t talking about the loss a loved one, it can help us deal with it. It gives us room to be real, to be weak, to admit that we can not do it without God. It allows us to openly lean on God and take life one day at a time.

The day will come when we are untied with our loved ones who have gone before us. Until that time comes, let us embrace the blessing that comes with mourning our own self sufficiency and lean heavily on His strength every day. I pray that he will fill you with His grace, use you to reach others with His love and wrap His strong arms of comfort around you.