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.
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 isthe 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.
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)
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.
“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:
That God, His Father determined His time on earth, not a storm- even the most ferocious of ones.
Who and whose He was: the Son of God, on a mission from God, filled with the power of God.
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.
“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.