Living Forgiven

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“and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in His name to all nations”

Luke 24:47 MSG

There is no greater sense of purpose than accepting God’s power to make a 180-degree turn and change.

This doesn’t just happen once.

It isn’t reserved only for “the first time” you recognize you are in need of salvation but is a privileged right of every child of God, no matter how long (or how little) you have let Jesus love you.

It is the ONE thing that keeps your relationship with God thriving and alive- asking for forgiveness.

Get before God today and lay down all that is holding you back.

Every day.
Once a week.
Once a month.
Once a year.
Whatever it takes.

The more the better.

One of the reasons I need to go away by myself for a couple of days a year.  I have learned that I need the time and space to search my heart, to be real before God, to mourn my own weaknesses, to own my mistakes and get the neglected areas of my heart right with God.

Be brave.

I love the quote that says “if you don’t like where you are at, change it. You are not a tree”.

No, you are not a tree, in Christ, you are a child of God.

What do you need to lay down before the cross?

How is your heart? It is cluttered and clogged?

When was the last time you made time to spend time with God and ask Him to cleanse your soul?

Now is a good time.

Grave Clothes

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Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

John‬ ‭11‬:‭43-44‬ NIV

Lazarus was dead. His body wrapped tightly in grave clothes and laid to rest. The world had already moved on, the end of the story already written. It was over.

But the story was not over for God.

Just when Mary and Martha thought that it was too late, Jesus came and did the most unexpected thing: He raised Lazarus from the dead. He had someone roll away the stone and then called him out.

In one of the most remarkable passages of Scripture, Jesus speaks to death and it is defied. It is powerless before the commanding Word of the Son of God.

You may think that your story has already been written.

That it is over.

That where you are right now is where you will always be.

That your usefulness, your marriage, your ministry, your job, your purpose, your hopes lay dead and lifeless at your feet.

Jesus still defies death. You may think the story is over but God doesn’t.

He will call life from death and unbind the grave clothes that cling.

He will call your name, remind you who you are and whose you are.

He will change the ending. 

He will resurrect relationships, restore callings, redefine life as you know it and move you into the light.

The story of Lazarus is more than an example of a miracle, it is a proclamation of the power of Jesus to raise the dead things in us and a reminder to us today that all death means nothing in the light of His love.

When fear rises up to tell you that your story is already over, begin to loudly proclaim that in Christ your story has only just begun.

A Seed

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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 to life than we can imagine.

Seeds are made to be planted, crushed, broken and nourished to grow.

So are we.

“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.

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. To 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 through 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.

Grace For Today

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You don’t have to wait for the right conditions in your life or until you have more time or money.

You don’t have to wait until you are stronger or smarter or better behaved.

The grace God has given you has nothing to do with how strong or smart or well behaved you are but you have it nonetheless – it is yours.

Grace that allows you to change, grace that inspires you to become who God created you to be.

Grace gives you strength and wisdom.

“God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone! We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears.

He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.”

‭‭Titus‬ ‭2:11-14‬ ‭MSG‬‬

The same grace that saves you for all eternity transforms your life today.

Today, you can begin to live differently, think differently, love differently.

Not tomorrow, or later-when-everything-is-easier but today.

Don’t wait for one more second to live in the grace God sacrificed to give you.

Start Today.

Stop Trying to be Normal

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I want to remind you that there is no such thing as “normal”.

Life does not move in simple horizontal lines, plotting along connecting dots.

We are not given a coloring page per season of life and asked to simply color inside the lines.

Life happens…death happens. Circumstances arise that are far out of your control but with Jesus, you are created to deal with the reality.

You are empowered to fill the need presented to you with all the gifts and grace God has given to you.

You are a child of God who has been made to rise to the occasion. To deal with the reality. You have been empowered to fill the need presented to you with all the gifts and grace God has given to you.

“Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.”

Romans 12:2 MSG

Don’t worry about defining yourself within your culture. Don’t limit yourself by trying to find a place to fit. Do all that you are called to do, all that you are called to be, in the season you find yourself in, with the tools that you have in your hands.

With bold and strong colors – fill in the lines of your season then draw outside of them. Live outside of the lines of other’s expectations. Your voice matters. What you are doing is important. Your input is vital and needed.

Quit trying to be normal and live boldly in faith today.

Where Are You Going?

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Most people think to change their life, they need to change their behavior. God says to change your direction and your behavior will follow.

“Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways.”’
Haggai‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭NIV

This verse isn’t just about what you’re doing but about where you are going. It’s not about the way you are living your life but where your life is headed. 

Where are you headed? 

If you keep doing what you’re doing, do you want to go where you’re going?

The phrase “Give careful thought to your ways” is actually a Hebrew figure of speech that literally means “put your heart on your roads”.

In other words: Where will your heart be down the road from today?  

It is easy to get caught up in bad habits to survive the current crisis, surrender to discouragement because of the current disappointment or spew toxic words at the ones you love because of the current stress you are experiencing. The question is, “If you keep doing what you are doing what will happen to your relationships? Your body? Your heart? Is this where you want to end up? 

Is what you are doing today taking you down a road you want to be on tomorrow?

If you don’t want to go that way, stop right now. Turn around. Head in a new direction and it will eventually lead to the right road.

“I am so glad I waited this long to change,” said no one ever. 

You Are Not A Tree

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“and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nations”

Luke 24:47 MSG

I have come to treasure the gift of repentance, a word that simply means to turn around. To change. To move from where you are and head in a new direction.

There is no freedom without repentance.  The freedom that comes from recognizing your sin and being able to lay it down before God. There is no greater sense of peace than the one that comes the moment after receiving God’s forgiveness.

There is no greater sense of purpose than accepting God’s power to make a 180-degree turn and change.

This doesn’t just happen once. It isn’t reserved only for “the first time” you recognize you are a sinner in need of salvation but is a privileged right of every child of God, no matter how long (or how little) you have walked with God. It is the ONE thing that keeps your relationship with God thriving and alive.

Get before God and lay down what is holding you back.

Every day.
Once a week.
Once a month.
Once a year.
Whatever it takes.

The more the better. One of the reasons I need to go away by myself is that I need the time and space to squirm, to be real before God, to mourn my own weaknesses, own my mistakes and get neglected areas of my heart right with God.

And that takes courage because after repentance comes life change.
God gives you the power but you have to apply it to your life.

Be brave.

I want God’s prosperity in my life. In my mind, my heart, my health, my relationships and my ministry. But that means some things must change. I love the quote that says “if you don’t like where you are at, change it. You are not a tree”.

No, you are not a tree, you are a child of God.

What things do you need to be brave about?

When was the last time you found freedom through repentance?