Set Free

You have been set free from sin”

Romans 6:22 NIV

The power of sin in your life can feel like a noose that the enemy gently lays upon your neck. Then slowly, surely, he begins to tighten it until you feel trapped, choked and bound. 

It is a lie. You do not have to live in bondage anymore. 

It is Jesus clothed in the white garments of resurrection, bearing the fresh scars of the crucifixion declaring to the universe that the power of sin is broken. 

The good news is that through Him, you are set free.

You are free from sin.
You are free from its power and control.
You are free from its endless demands, requirements, small print and a false sense of control. 

Jesus took that noose upon His own neck for you. He took the penalty it demanded, death. Then He conquered death in a blaze of glory and held freedom in His hands. Wherever shame lurks and condemnation whispers, wherever fear and anxiety chokes, wherever lies and rejection linger – Jesus comes. 

He comes with His love, His power, His mercy and His forgiveness. 

He washes away the stains of the past and brings to you new hope for the future.  

He sets you free to live life saturated in His love and filled with His power.

The power of sin has been broken.

How will you live the truth of it today?

Shalom

“May God look you full in the face and make you prosper.”

Numbers 6:26 MSG

The word for “prosper” here in the original Hebrew is “shalom.”

It has become one of my favorite words.

At its core, “Shalom” means the type of wholeness that comes after being broken.

I think that the most difficult moment to look God full in the face is when you are broken.

When you have failed or fallen or lay wounded at another’s hand.

That is exactly when you need Him the most.

That is when you need to see the face of God and how He sees you.

That is when you need to see His love, mercy and grace as He gazes at you.

You need to know that when He looks you full in the face, He is looking at someone He loves, believes in and will put back together through the power of His love.

May God look you full in the face and make you prosper.

Shalom.

On Bravery

You don’t have to be brave unless you are facing something that requires it.

Being brave means that you are facing something that requires more than a step of faith, it requires a walk of faith.

It means not making your decisions based on what is but on what can be. 

Being brave means getting up every morning and keeping your word when you don’t want to. Stating your boundaries and holding to them even when you don’t feel like it.

Choosing to believe new truths instead of old lies every day.

That is being brave. 

“I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage!”

Joshua 1:9 MSG

Keep going.
Keep believing.
Be brave.

Grief

“Then Jesus wept.” John 11:35 NLT

Following Jesus doesn’t mean that you don’t deal with loss, it means don’t deal with it alone.

It means that you have a Savior who goes with you into the depths of grief.

One who walks with you through the fear, the anger and heartbreak of it all.

He will hold you when you collapse under the weight of it and strengthen you as you deal with reality.

With Him you can courageously face the pain of loss as you hold onto the hope of heaven. 

Go Toward It

Relationships are not easy.

They take grace, forgiveness, honesty, and courage.

You may think that it would be easier and simpler to withdraw, it is not.

Don’t cheat yourself or others by withdrawing in fear.

Persevere. 

Go toward the problem. 

Reach out. 

God can make a way where there seems to be no way.

Quiet the fear-filled beat of your heart and listen for the encouraging whisper of the Holy Spirit.

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had,”‭‭ 

Romans‬ ‭15:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What 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.

“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!

What You Want

We all have habits that we need to get rid of. However, there is a particular habit that Jesus is more concerned about breaking than the one you are thinking of: it is the desire to get your own way.

“Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:1-2‬ ‭MSG‬‬

When we struggle, we may think it is because God doesn’t love us. In reality, it might be that He loves you so much that He will use the stressful opportunity at hand to break the habit of the-only-way-I-will-be-happy-is-when-I-get-my-way.

God has more for you than that and He calls it freedom. 

Journey of Courage

Are you discouraged today?

When Jesus was preparing His disciples for the difficult times they were about to face, He said this:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Life with Jesus is a journey of overcoming and conquering, first steps and new beginnings.

It is an adventure of discovery and healing, of bold moves and humble hearts.

It is about facing difficulty with courage and having peace in the midst of uncertainty.

It is possible because Jesus promises to be with you every step of the way.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-30 (ESV)

Find Rest Here

I want to remind you that you have a place of refuge in Christ.

He is like a fortress of strength to love from.

He is a tower of trust to give from.

Live from the truth of who Jesus is and what he has done for you on the cross.

You are restored and redeemed. 

You are accepted and forgiven. 

You are cherished and loved. 

When the strong sun of adversity beats down, rest in Shaddai’s shadow. Tuck yourself into His side and remind yourself whose you are.

“You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this:‘GOD, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!’ That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards.

His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:1-5 MSG‬‬

When fear screams the loudest, run to the refuge of the cross. Jesus died for you so that you could have this: an unhindered relationship with your Father in heaven who has strong arms and strong love. 

Fear nothing. 

Hide in Him. 

This is where you find rest.

A Storm of Uncertainty

Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.”  Matthew‬ ‭8‬:‭24‬ NIV

We have all been living through a storm of uncertainty for the last year. In one way or another, Covid-19 has disrupted our lives like a storm disrupts a clear blue sky.

Since living in Southern Florida for the last few of years, I have a healthy respect for storms that come on quickly and are ferocious. Every afternoon in the summer, the fluffy white clouds that fill the blue expanse of the sky in the morning turn into dark thunderclouds by the afternoon.  Some afternoon storms are gentle showers and over quickly. Some of them rip the sky open with the crack of lightning, heart-pounding thunderclaps, and vicious wind.

The verse above describes a storm on the Sea of Galilee that came on so suddenly and was so ferocious that seasoned fisherman (the disciples) feared for their lives.

And what was Jesus doing? He was sleeping. He was resting.

He didn’t get in the boat at the beginning of the voyage and quiet the winds and calm the waves before he fell asleep, Jesus rested right in the middle of it.

The storm did not disturb him.

How did Jesus rest in the midst of an unexpected storm?

Jesus knew three things:

  1.  That God, His Father determined His time on earth, not a storm- even the most ferocious of ones.
  2.  Who and whose He was: the Son of God, on a mission from God, filled with the power of God.
  3. He knew that His mission was not over yet.

The best thing for you to do in a storm is to trust God and rest. 

Rest in God’s sovereignty:  He knows the moment you will cross into eternity.  This storm will not be the end of your story and God does not have half a plan.

Rest in knowing who and whose you are: a cherished child of God, redeemed by the cross of Christ to live life loved and drenched in God’s grace.

Rest in the knowledge that as long as you are here, God’s mission for you is not done yet.

I know it is stormy where you are but I want you to know that God is there with you and He will get you through whatever happens.