Love Fearlessly

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To love deeply gives you strength.
To be loved deeply gives you courage.

One of the most amazing things about receiving God’s love (and I mean really receiving it- taking it in, letting it sink into your soul, walking in the truth of it, living loved) is that it gives you courage.

Courage to step out of your comfort zone.

Courage to change the way you talk to yourself and to others.

Courage to not give in to old habits, coping mechanisms or escape tactics.

Courage to face your feelings and issues.

Deal with them honestly and work them through because you are loved– completely, unconditionally and fearlessly by God. When you grasp this, even just a bit of it- you will begin to love others fearlessly and let go of fear yourself.

“My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.”

1 John 3:18-20 MSG

When anxiety is stealing your joy, you can bet it is also stealing your ability to love fearlessly as well. Put your worries in God’s capable hands and get busy loving the people He has placed in your life.

Have a wonderful fearless- loving day, my friend!

Your Full Potential

God will keep you accountable to live according to your full potential.

Not as a punishment but as a part of a thriving relationship of love.

Because Jesus loves you, He will challenge you.

He will challenge your status quo.

He will challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and live out there.

And when your uncomfortable zone becomes comfortable- He will call you out …again.

“You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living.
1 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭17‬ MSG

God loves you just as you are but that same love won’t let you stay that way.

Sloppy living isn’t about appearance or how your life looks to others, it is about how your life looks to God.

Sloppy living is when you have stopped risking and reaching but have shrunk back and self-protected.

Sloppy living is settling when you are called to soar.

Sloppy living is when you have delegated the Great Commission to others instead of doing it yourself.

You are not called to live a comfortable life, you have been called to abundant life in Christ.

You have been called to go.

You have been called to grow.

If you think that God is calling you out of your comfort zone- HE IS.

It’s time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and live the life God has created you to live.

What comfort zone is Jesus calling you out of today?

Thanks and Glory

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There are two things that will keep your thinking clear and your hearts filled with God’s divine light: giving God glory and giving God thanks.

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans‬ ‭1‬:‭21‬ NIV

When you make thanksgiving and worship a daily necessity you are fortifying your spiritual life and strengthening your mental one.

It is the difference between enduring and embracing your life.

What are you thankful for today?

Heaven

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Earth is not our home- heaven is.

What does heaven look like? What does it feel like? I don’t know. But I do know what the Word says about the atmosphere God creates and place where He dwells:

“Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place.”

1 Chronicles 16:27 NIV

I may not have the details of what it looks like but I know that it is magnificent. More than that, joy and strength permeates the air and fills its rooms. Truthfully, wherever God is, He brings these attributes with Him. They are a part of who He is.

When I am feeling weak and my heart is heavy, I whisper these sweet words of invitation: Father, may your presence fill this space, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Where He is, strength abounds and joy lives.

Heaven is a real place and someday you will be there.

Until then, may you experience God’s presence here on earth and be filled with such peace and deep joy that it makes you homesick for heaven.

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.