Gentle

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“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Why do I need the reminder to “let my gentleness be evident”? I don’t know about you but when I stress, I try to control things. I work to make things to the way I think it should be. When I feel that I am in a battle, I push everyone out, put up my walls and am prepared to fight.

When I am stressed, gentle is the last thing that I am to those around me.

The original Greek word used for gentleness in the verse above describes the heart of someone who will let God fight his battles for Him. It describes a person who has let go of trying to control the situation and allowed God to do what He needs to.

This is where having a relationship with Jesus changes things. It’s where trusting Him impacts how you live because He will never ask you to be something that He isn’t already.

Jesus IS near. 

Jesus says that He is so close that it’s like you’re yoked up with Him. Shoulder to shoulder, walking the same way, with Him bearing the load and directing the path.

He IS gentle. 

Jesus showed us what this kind of gentleness looks like. He focused on His relationship with His Father and only did what God directed Him to. He did not bend to peer pressure, comparison or even try to fit in with anyone other than His Father. He didn’t try to control the situations or people. He focused on being faithful to the part He was given to do and allowed God to work out the rest. 

Jesus lived yoked and yielded long before He offered it to His disciples.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:29‬ ‭NIV‬‬

He leads gently so that you can live gently.

Gentle is not weak it is focused trust as well as a deep knowing of who you are and whose you are.

My friend, may you begin to learn to live in the power of leading a gentle life by being yoked and yielded to the gentle Savior today.

God Doesn’t Give up

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Love doesn’t give up.

One of my oldest and dearest friends got a call from her twin brother late one night. He was calling from jail with his third DUI. Before he even began to talk, she felt God drop a message in her heart for him. She told him that she wasn’t mad at him but that he would keep finding himself in that kind of situation until he realized how much God loves him until he stopped running from that love.

When her brother told her he wanted to change, she didn’t believe him anymore. He had told her that too many times to count.

She didn’t believe her brother anymore but she believed God.

That night her brother believed God too.

He got involved in Celebrate Recovery, quit drinking and now goes to a church he loves.

My friend told me this story with tears running down her beautiful face and said, “God doesn’t give up.”

I had tears running down my face as well because in the twenty years we have been friends, I know one of her most fervent prayers was that her twin brother would know Jesus like she does.

I want to remind you today that God doesn’t give up on people.

Sometimes it takes longer than you want it to but God hears your prayers and loves the people you are praying for more than you do.

Jesus doesn’t give up.

You may stop praying about it.

You may stop believing it can ever happen.

You may have lost faith in a person.

You may have lost faith in yourself and your own ability to change.

But God doesn’t.

“Love never gives up.”

1 Corinthians 13:7

Never.

God is not asking you to believe in others or even yourself anymore, He is asking you to believe in Him.

He is the faithful Savior who paid the ultimate price to redeem the lost, reinstate the prodigal and recreate the unrecognizable with the unrelenting love that flows from his heart.

What do you need to believe God for today?

Who do you need to believe God for today?

While You Wait

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Sometimes you have to wait. You have to be patient. You have to let go of your need to control and jump in to fix it your way and satisfy your need to push forward and make something happen just because you want it to.

Sometimes, Jesus asks you to chill out and trust him. To wait and to not do anything as he prepares the next step, the next place, the next relationship, the next ministry, the next thing.

Wait for His salvation instead of trying to manufacture your own.

Wait…but don’t just wait.

Wait in hope.

Wait in faith.

Wait in love.

Wait for God to do what only He can do and meanwhile do what only you can do.

Pursue the direction He has already given you and feed hope.

Be faithful to what He has already given you to do and feed your faith.

Work hard to love those around you because they need to be loved.

Waiting is not passive but an internal expectation of hope for the future while actively working on what God has already given you to do today.

Trust Jesus enough to not know what is going to happen.

“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

God is not done with you. He may have put a pause on things but you can trust him to complete what He has started.

Wait.

Uncomplicated Faithfulness

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This morning, I want to remind you to be faithful to what God has asked you to do.

I want to remind you that faithfulness and love can be your top priority.

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What if your behavior was driven by kindness and completed by uncomplicated faithfulness every day?

Not out of legalism but out of love.

Not to earn anything but to embrace everything God has already given you.

It is better to be faithful in a few things than unfaithful in many.

What would your life look like if you finished what you started?

What are your “few” things you are working on?

Abundant Rest

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Wholeness takes time.

Abundant life in Christ includes abundant rest in Him.

Resting from trying to figure it all out.

Resting from worrying yourself sick.

Resting from trying to control everything and have the answers for everything.

“May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ.

The One who called you is completely dependable.

If he said it, he’ll do it!”

1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:23-24‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Take a deep breath, slow down.

The very best thing you can do is rest in Him.

The Lord isn’t slow in keeping His promises,  He is faithful to complete what He has started and is completely dependable.

I know it isn’t easy and life may not make sense right now.

Hold on, my friend.

Let Jesus work.

Trust in Him.

Put yourself and what is weighing heavy on your heart into His Hands.

He is patient with you (and with others) because He sees more than you do, His reach extends yours and His knowledge is not hindered by time or eternity.

God knows real change takes time and He is willing to wait.

Rest in Him today and give yourself permission to stop worrying about things you can’t control.

Your Gifts

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“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
The gift that you are with your smile and words, your hands and heart, how you cook or clean, create or organize, how you lead and follow, bless and pray is meant to be given, not hidden.
God has given you gifts. 
All kinds. 
Some come as talent.
Others are revealed in character. 
Some are gifts to you as well as through you that bring such joy that you can’t wait to share them.
Some are so close to your heart that you are afraid to reveal them. 
But gifts are made for giving.
Salt is made for seasoning.
Light is made for lighting. 
Gifts are made for giving.
The more precious they are to you, the more powerful they will be for others.
The gifts you have been given are to be given away: to serve, to love, to mend, to tend, to bless, to build.