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.

All Things

“Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. GOD, your God, is with you every step you take.”
Joshua‬ ‭1‬:‭9‬ MSG

Today you have a task before you that is too big for you to do on your own.

God knows this too.

He doesn’t intend for you to do it on your own or by yourself.

He intends for you to move forward with Him.

To face the impossible challenge with Him.

If you should keep going forward or if you even have the strength to, hear these words from your Father in heaven:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua‬ ‭1‬:‭9‬ NIV

Should you move forward?

Yes
.

Can you?


Yes
.

Why?


Because you can do all things through Him who strengthens you. 

Hold On

I want to encourage you today that no matter how dark the situation may seem, trust God to do something about it anyway.

Dare to trust Him in the desert and stay on the journey.

“When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:17-18‬ ‭MSG‬‬

When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed God.

Though everything in his life seemed to indicate otherwise, he lived his life focused on the power of God and not on impossibility of the promise given.

I am sure that there were times that Abraham barely believed. I know that there were days that he was only holding on to a bare thread of hope…but he held on.

God can do the impossible in you and through you.

Hold on.

Hold on, my friend, you may have only had a thread of hope but in Christ, that thread is stronger than what you face and will hold against that which you fear.

Sustained and Trained

“He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭18:34-35‬ ‭NIV‬‬

My prayer for you today is that you would know His love as He pours His strength into you. That you would know His peace as you lean on Him. That you would rest in God’s grace as you walk by His guidance. That you would trust Him with the future and focus simply on the task before you. That you would be released from the restlessness within you as you receive a new determination to go forward in faith.

God will give you what you need right now to fight the battle before you.

You are stronger than you know because your strength comes from Jesus and His right hand sustains you.

Don’t give up, you are sustained and trained through the power of His love.

God’s Not Finished

“But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right—everything.  Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.”
Isaiah 30:18

When the boys were in elementary school they got out at 2:20 pm and I would try to get to the school at the latest by 2:00 pm so I could get a good spot in the pickup line. If you have ever experienced the stress of picking your child up in the craziness that is the end of an Elementary school day, you know how important this is.

One day I had to pick them up early from school and as we walked from classrooms to the car, Kyle looked at all the cars waiting in line and said: “Oh, they are already here?” Then he said, “I thought you just got here right when school is out”. I said, “Nope, if I waited until then I’d be way in the back of the line, so I get here early so I can be right on time for you.”

As I pulled in to wait in the pickup line the next day, I thought about Kyle’s perception, “I thought you just got here right when school was out.”

We forget that most things are not always as they seem but only as we see them. Just as I made a point to be at the school early so that I could be “on time” for the boys, so God is working in ways we can’t see and don’t know about in our lives.

The verse above was fulfilled through Jesus and through Jesus God’s will can be fulfilled in your life. 

God is not finished with you.

He is going ahead of you and preparing the way for you.

His grace and power are ready to be right on time when you need it.

 

Like This.

“Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” Ephesians. 5:2 Message Version

The Scripture above doesn’t say:
Mostly what God does is judge us.
Mostly what God does is condemn us.
Mostly what God does is punish us.
Mostly what God does is give up on us.

No, mostly what God does is love us.

He holds nothing back but gives us more and more and more. He loves us whether we feel it or not. He loves us when we are doing good or not. Can’t earn it. Don’t deserve it, nonetheless…what God mostly does is love us.

It reminds me of a phrase from the book, The Shack by William P. Young: “The nature of love is that it is freely given and received freely. God loves the lost and saved the same. He loves, period.”

He loves, period.

Do you know you are loved like this today?

Do you know you can love others this way?

True Peace

What do you think of when you think of having peace?

Do you think of a day without conflict or one without suffering?

I often think that having peace means a day without external noise or internal worry.

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – John 16:33 TPT

Peace isn’t found in the absence of problems, it is found in the presence of Jesus.

Peace isn’t found in the hope that the world will get it right, it is found in the promise that Jesus already did.

As I write this, the words of an old hymn comes to mind:

“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand


When darkness hides His lovely face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand


His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way,

He then is all my hope and stay

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

When He shall come with trumpet sound
Oh, may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless to stand before the throne’


On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

by Edward Mote, 1834

My friend, no matter what you are facing this Christmas, my prayer for you is that Jesus would be the rock you stand on.