Heart Purified

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭23:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Your faith is more precious to God than the finest of gold.

Your faith in Jesus will last longer than your job, your goals and your body.  It is the faith born from the eternal life inside of you that sustains you through the trials of the temporary outside life.

When God tests your faith it is to purify it. To clarify it. To clean it from dross and impurities. He will use the smallest irritation or the greatest trial to do it. He does not send the trial but He will use it.

The same fire that destroys wood purifies gold.

God can use the very thing that you feel like is destroying you to purify you.

He will use the disappointment you are experiencing to make the dross of your heart rise to the surface so He can skim it off.

You have a promise here that God knows where you are, what you are going through and that He knows how to use it to do a powerful work in you.

You will come out of it shining.

Hold onto God during this season because He is most certainly holding onto you. 

Do More Than Just Endure Today

There are two things that will keep your thinking clear and your hearts filled with God’s divine love: 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

You can know God and still get stuck in a mental habit of worry and fear.

Jesus died and rose again so that you can break the power of old mental habits and create new ones with His power.

When you make gratitude and worship your daily bread you are fortifying your spiritual life and strengthening your mental one.

It is the difference between enduring and embracing your life with Jesus in it.

God knows where you are and what your world looks like.

Replace your worry with worship and fear with gratitude.

Gratitude for what you have instead of dwelling on what you are afraid of losing.

What are you grateful for today?

How will you worship Jesus today?

Lean on God

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” 
Proverbs 3:5 NIV

It is hard to not lean on your own understanding.

Your understanding is made of what you know, what you have learned, what you have been taught and tucked into your back pocket as experience. In the other pocket, you have stuffed the disappointments, the failures, the mistakes that you don’t want to make again. Either way, you are leaning on what you know. You make decisions based on past experiences and knee-jerk reactions from what you fear happening again.

How do you learn to trust God and lean on His understanding, His truth, His knowledge, and His power?

Lean on Him.

Lean on His love, His faithfulness, His wisdom and His mercy today.

Do the next right thing and leave the rest to Him.

He will guide you and show you how to walk forward according to His truth.

Instead of your go-to, knee-jerk reaction, go to your knees and ask God what the next right thing is.

Getting Back to Basics

Whenever you feel lost and unsure of how to start up again, go back to the basics.
 
So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others.
 
2 Peter 1:5-9 MSG
 
Basic Faith – the first step, the abandoned sin, throwing of oneself upon the mercy of God and walking forward into the unseen with the belief that you are not alone to develop.
 
Good Character – staying true to what you believe in the little things and letting those small choices of integrity overflow into the big things as you grow.
 
Spiritual Understanding – the moments you can’t explain, but know are true.
 
Alert Discipline – not allowing time, tiredness, busyness, past baggage, old excuses erode right habits, receiving grace and energy from God.
 
Passionate Patience – being able to expectantly wait for one thing while wholehearted working for another. Choosing to focus on being obedient, not on the results of being obedient.
 
Reverent Wonder – the awe of seeing God with the wide eyes of a childlike heart.
 
Warm Friendliness – the smile, the hug, the gentle knowing atmosphere of those who are confidently walking in their purpose.
 
Generous Love – being able to love those closest to us without fear or conditional embraces and the ability to love those we barely know with an authenticity that only comes from intimately knowing God.
 
These are my own definitions of the list in 2 Peter 1:5. 
 
These are not a to-do list, this is a Jesus-help-me-be list.
 
May you find your way back to the basics and thrive by the grace of God in each one today.

Being Brave

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.

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.

 

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?

A Careless Life

There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.”

Matthew 6:25, 26 MSG

Life with God is about being filled with His love and then pouring it out on all those around you.

It is worshipping Him when we wake, when we walk, when we clean, when we work, when we eat, when we get dressed.

It is knowing you are saved by grace and reconciled to Him because of the sacrifice of Jesus.

It is knowing He loves you because you are His kid and He enjoys spending time with you.

My friend, you are a child of God who is cherished, chosen and provided for.

Live in the freedom of His love.

Live care-less in the care of God.

Live more in this truth and less in the lie that you are valued because of what you look like, eat, wear or do.

This life, this love, this security comes from Jesus and is unshakable.

The rest is frosting.

Quiet Strength

A great life requires quiet strength.

A strength that gets up when it is tired.

Does the right thing when it doesn’t feel like it.

Holds on when it wants to let go.

Pushes through when it would be easier to quit.

It isn’t pretty.

It is strong.

It has scars.

Quiet strength doesn’t stop.

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.”

Colossians 3:12- MSG

It is the kind of strength that Jesus demonstrated every day as He walked with mankind and made His way to the cross.

The life that God has called you to live requires a quiet strength and a steely determination.

You can’t do it without Jesus and He doesn’t ask you to.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,”  Ephesians 3:16 NIV

The quiet strength of God defies logic and grows in what seems to be an impossible place.

Don’t give up.

Stay faithful.

Right Now

God’s love for you is for right now. Not later. Now.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, God’s love cuts right through the business of life and breathes into you the very heart of it- His heart, His LIFE.

“For right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:

Trust steadily in God,
hope unswervingly,
love extravagantly.
And the best of the three is love.”

1 Corinthians 13:13 MSG

Don’t wait for tomorrow to trust.
Trust today. 

Don’t wait until tomorrow to hope.
Hope today.

Don’t wait until tomorrow to love.
Love today. 

Steadily.

Unswervingly.

Extravagantly.

Right now.