Your Heart

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Living in a loud world requires cultivating a quiet heart.

You may be focusing on your to-do list but God is focused on tending to your heart.

“In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:21‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Just as an untended garden grows wild and will produce good things as well as life-threatening weeds, it is the same with your heart.

Your heart needs to be tended to on a daily basis.

New things NEED to be planted, old things NEED to be pruned.

However, you are not the gardener of your heart, God is.

Your heart is the soil.

As you invite Jesus in, He waters your soul. As you spend time with Him, the Holy Spirit pulls weeds. As you trust the Father, He plants seeds of faith.

It is a partnership but one that is different than you are used to.

Your most important job is to give God time, opportunity and full access to do His work in your heart.

A quiet, secure heart is of great value to those closest to you and the loud, insecure world around you.

Shut the world out and invite Jesus in today to do some landscaping in your heart with His amazing grace.

Keep a Firm Grip

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“Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:23 ‭MSG

What promise is keeping you going right now?

For me, it is this one:

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It reminds me that even though it is my life, what He does through me is His work. It is His work that He started, His work to continue, His work to complete.

It is a reminder that it is not my work that completes me but His.

It encourages me to keep my focus on the relationship I have with Him because that is my work.

What a great job description: grow my relationship with God and let Him grow me.

What promise keeps you going?

What word are you holding on to right now?

Jesus is able and faithful to keep His promises to you.

Hold Him with a firm grip and don’t let go.

Faith is a Verb

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Faith is not a feeling.

Faith is a  choice.  It is a choice to believe something that leads to doing something. 

This is the year to do the thing that faith is prompting and fear is resisting.

To trust God with the impossible.

To put actions to your words.

Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything?”

James 2:14 NLT

If God is asking you to do it, He has already given what you need for it.

He has already equipped you for it.

“Faith is taking the first step before you know what the second step is.”

– Joyce Meyers

God is bigger than your fear and has a purpose for your faith.

He needs you to be who He has called you to be and do what He has asked you to do.

It isn’t about you, it is about who your obedience will impact.

It is time to put your faith into action.

What is God challenging you to do this year?

He Cares For You

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One morning during worship, a familiar fear wondered into my mind. With my hands already lifted in worship, I felt the Lord say to me, “You can hold onto your fear, or you can give it to me but you can’t do both.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Cast –  to toss. You can’t throw something without letting it go.

All – every irrational fear, every overwhelming worry. as they come.

Your – they are not God’s anxieties but He will take them.

Anxiety – the word used here means to be drawn in different directions. Literally means to be torn apart.

On Him – where to put what is tearing you apart. Jesus is strong enough to carry them, no matter how heavy they are. He will not remove the circumstances that are causing you anxiety but he will walk you through them and teach you how to deal with them.

Because He Cares – this is a present active verb as in “caring right now in this present moment”

For You – yes, YOU.

God is caring for you right now.

The quote “Don’t tell me that worry doesn’t work, because what I worry about doesn’t happen” used to be one of my favorites before I met Jesus.

God doesn’t want fear to be the center of your life – He wants to be the center of your life.

Make Jesus the center and cast your fears on Him today.

 

Being Humble

I know that the word humble can be a hard one to grasp.

First of all, it has nothing to do with being humiliated or feeling humiliated.

Second, it is not about doing but about being.

It is about identity and living out of it.

It is knowing who you are in Christ as well as knowing who Christ is in you:

He is your Savior, redeemer, creator, all-powerful God.

He is your guide, strength, hope, and peace.

He is the great I AM and has unlimited power and reach.

Jesus is the greatest in heaven and made himself the least on earth. Not because He had forgotten who He was but because He knew with full confidence who He was.

In the first three chapters of Ephesians after encouraging the church in Ephesus to live out of their new identity in Christ, He tells them:

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Being humble means that you can be happy and content when you are not in control.

Being gentle means that you have unclinched your hands from steering the direction of your life and have let Jesus take the lead.

Being patient means bearing with those who don’t deserve your patience and loving people who are not easy to love.

This is about the little things that can undo our composure: the unexpected phone calls, the interruptions that add or postpone your to-do list, the change of plans because some people are unorganized.

These are the moments when being humble matters the most.

There are the moments when being gentle makes all the difference.

These are the moments when others will recognize that the patience you are extending to them is not natural but God given.

These are the moments Jesus shines bright through you.

May you so confidently know who you are in Christ that you are able to gracefully engage with all that challenges it today.

One Step at a Time

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“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”     ‭‭

2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Walking is a pretty mundane activity.
It’s not as glamorous as running.
I’ve always wanted to be a runner but am definitely not one.  I am simply a very good walker.
Walking is what you learn early by falling down a lot.
It is what gets you to the kitchen in the morning for your first cup of coffee.
It is basic and boring and taken for granted unless you can’t do it anymore.
Charles Spurgeon said,
“That man has not yet learned the true spirit of Christianity who is always saying, ‘I can preach a sermon by faith.’ Yes, sir, but can you make a coat by faith? ‘Can you cook a dinner by faith?”.
The real work of life isn’t using your gifts by faith but living your life by it: Paying your bills, doing your job, cooking dinner, cleaning the toilet.
It is in these small necessary everyday things that God’s power is revealed not just in the great things but in the small ordinary ones. 
It is when God’s grace and power are evident in washing the dishes when you are tired and spent.
It is when you stop yourself from going all buck wild on the attitude you just received from your teenager.
It is when the holiday isn’t working out to be what you hoped for but you are able to roll with the punches and still enjoy the special moments that would otherwise be buried in resentment and disappointment.
When what you see does not dictate how you behave.
That is when faith leads your life instead of sight. 
It isn’t very exciting but it is totally life-giving.
Don’t worry about running your faith race today, just focus on walking it out faithfully.
Love you.
Today may you walk slowly, steadily and consistently in faith in who Jesus is, what He has done and in who He is re-creating you to be.

Take It

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You will never feel more alive than when you take a step of faith.

When you make the call,
Say the words,
Reach out,
Run ahead,
Or slow down.

You do it before you see results,
without assurance of success,
and not knowing where it will take you.

It is a step of faith.

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

James‬ ‭2‬:‭17‬ NIV

The reverse is true as well- every time you let an opportunity pass to put your faith into action, it dies a little bit.

If you are reading this, you are not dead. Neither is your faith.
Put it into action.

How is your faith?

What step of obedience do you need to take today?