When You Feel Like Giving Up

When you feel like giving up, don’t.

There are gifts that only come from facing the hard things.

There is growth that only comes from holding onto God through the toughest times.

There is a maturity that only develops as you persevere when everything around you is uncomfortable, difficult, and hard.

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4 NIV

Don’t give up.

Hold on to Jesus and let perseverance complete you.

If you quit halfway through you will never know what God has for you.

He has a plan to complete you, to bring you to wholeness, to bring the parts that are broken and disconnected together knitted by His grace restored by His strength completed by His love.

Don’t quit.

Hold on and keep trusting.

You are worth it.

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.

Your Amazing Race

“In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel.

Ephesians‬ ‭4:1‭ MSG‬‬

In light of this: God can do more than you can ask or imagine. 

In light of God’s ability, not your ability.

In light of God’s worthiness, not your worthiness.

In light of God’s power, not your power – RUN on the road God has called you to travel.

God has not called you to run on someone else’s road but your road

This is your journey, your family, your school, your job, your road. 

The road God has called you to travel has more to do with your character than your career- who He wants you to be rather than what he wants you to do for a living.

Paul’s road led him through prison but he did not see it as God’s failure but as an opportunity for God to use him where he was. He saw it as a part of his path.

Paul’s identity was defined by his relationship to God through Jesus and by his passion to share that truth with everyone that crossed his path: guards, fellow prisoners, politicians and anyone else who God brought to him.

Anchor your identity in the love of Jesus and share the good news of the gospel with every person who crosses your path. 

Stop waisting your time by comparing your race with someone else’s.

Run your amazing race and let others run their own today.

Keep Going

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.  Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is often called the “Hall of Faith”.

It tells the stories of those who served God with great passion and unflinching faithfulness through the toughest of times.

They suffered, risked, obeyed and trusted God to do what only He can do.

This verse says that the way they lived their lives, and seeing how they trusted God, is like having a great grandstand of people cheering you on as you follow Jesus.

What are they telling you? 

They are telling you to throw off everything that hinders and run the race God has called you to run.

Not your mom’s race or your neighbor’s faith race but your faith race. 

They are telling you to keep focused on the finish line and lay down whatever is weighing you down from getting there: other people’s opinions, irrational fears,  fear-laden doubts, time-wasting worries. 

They know that a life of faith isn’t easy and that the only way you can do it is by keeping your eyes on Jesus.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, my friend, take a deep breath and run your race. 

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.

Hope Endures

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”        2 Peter 1:2-3 NIV

God’s divine power through Jesus has given you everything you need to live the life God made you for.

That doesn’t mean it will be easy.  

If it was easy, you wouldn’t need God’s power to do it.

You will need Him.

You will need His power to keep going in spite of the obstacles, the setbacks, the failures, and the frustrations that you will face this year.

Good thing you have Him.

The promise is made.

Hold on to Jesus.

Hope endures.

Happy New Year.

Around the Corner

I grew up about an hour or so from the beach in Southern California.

Unless you know that you are going to the beach, it just feels like you are stuck in the worst freeway traffic of your life: standstill traffic with smog.

But then you turn a corner and there it is – the sand, the waves and the beauty of the beach.

My friend, you don’t know what this new year will bring.

The journey so far hasn’t been easy and doesn’t look hopeful.

Keep going.

“Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭25:4‬ ‭NLT‬

Don’t give up.

There is more for you and for all you know, it may be just around the corner.

And it will be breathtaking.

With God

 “Not one promise from God is empty of power, for nothing is impossible with God!” Luke 1:37 TPT

When the angel appeared to Mary and told her that she would give birth to Jesus, she asked him, “How is this possible?” and he replied, “with God!”.

God promised that a child would be born that would be the Savior of the world – hundreds of years before this moment.

I am sure many had given up hope.

I am sure many moved on.

But God’s promises are filled with God’s power.

The very same power that brought order to the chaos and light to the darkness promised that Immanuel, “God with us”, would be born.

And He was.

He was born and laid in a feeding trough, did miracles and died on a Roman cross, defeated death and ascended to heaven.

He is Jesus.

He is the Messiah.

Hold onto hope.

Don’t move on.

All of God’s promise are infused with His power.

Nothing is impossible with God.

When God drops a promise in your heart and an opportunity in your lap, you must have faith to go forward.

Grab on to faith like it is your job and obey whatever God asks you to do.

Not because it is easy.

Nothing worth having comes easy.

But if God asks you to do it, He will give you what you need to do it.

With God nothing is impossible.

With God, you can.

Refuge and Fortress

“I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge

and my fortress, my God,

in whom I trust.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus came so that you could live so close to the Father that the shadow of His love would cover you.

He went to the cross so that the presence of Almighty could be a refuge from the storm raging around you and a fortress of peace to run to when you are weary of fighting.

Jesus defeated death and cleared the way so you could be free to live fully in the power of God. He is the door into the refuge of God’s presence and the key to open it is trust.

Are you trusting Jesus today or are you trying to do it all yourself?

Faith Full

I remember a time a few years ago when I was discouraged and heartbroken.

My hopes had been swept away by a flood of circumstances fueled by other people’s choices and actions. I chose integrity but no one else saw it that way. My character was questioned. My reputation was shredded and I could do nothing about it.

I could only walk forward into a future that I had not anticipated or imagined.

I clung to Jesus. I grabbed hold of the promise that He would never leave me or forsake me. I tried to trust that He could redeem the circumstances as I watched everything we had built crumble around us. I tried and failed. I couldn’t find trust or hope within my soul, only heartbreak and fear.

Psalm 119:116 became the words I held onto:

Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.”

One morning I got up early and took a walk. We were living in Las Vegas and my neighborhood edged the desert by the Red Rock. With worship music loaded on my iPod, I set out to pray and breathe in the presence of God.

As I turned the corner out of my neighborhood and onto the desert road behind it the song “Great is Thy Faithfulness” began. The sun was just rising over Red Rock Canyon and it was so beautiful that I almost dropped to my knees.  I heard God’s whisper in my heart, “Hold on. Your hopes are not lost. I am faithful to complete what I have started in you. I will sustain you through this and strengthen you in it. My faithfulness knows no end.”

It was a turning point for me. I carried that promise through a time that got harder long before it got better.

Hold on, my friend, your hopes are not lost. 

Jesus is faithful to complete what He started in you. 

He will sustain you and strengthen you in it. 

God’s faithfulness knows no end.