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.

Hold Tight to Hope

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

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:23 ‭MSG

What promise are you holding onto today?

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

This scripture reminds me God will finish the work of restoration He began when I gave Him my life.   He started it, His work will continue it and He will complete it.  My life, His work. 

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

My life’s work is to focus on my relationship with Him. 

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 tight to Him and trust Him to hold tight to you.

Strong Love

Tuesday

God will use the challenge you are facing today to show you how strong His love is.

How good He is.

How much He loves you.

How much He cares for you.

Faith in the Father’s love is what held Jesus to the cross, not the nails in His hands.

The Father’s love is not a weak thing. He is able to hold unspeakable pain and unquenchable peace at the same time.

In these uncertain times, fear roars ferociously to unseat our peace while the Father’s love meets us in the midst of chaos and brings His to us, Himself, His presence.

He is with you right now.

And He IS love.

“Beloved friends, let us love one another; because love is from God; and everyone who loves has God as his Father and knows God. Those who do not love, do not know God; because God is love.

Here is how God showed his love among us: God sent his only Son into the world so that through him we might have life”.

1 John 4:8 -9

Living Large

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“Thank you! Everything in me says ‘Thank you!’ …Thank you for your love, thank you for your faithfulness; Most holy is your name, most holy is your Word.

The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength.” Psalm 138:1-3 MSG

‬‬The true secret of “living large” isn’t about outside income, it is about inside strength.

The strength that is accessed through spontaneous worship- the ability to see and recognize what God has given you and what He is doing.

The strength that comes from the truth of God’s Word impacting and changing your life.

The strength that comes from gratitude.

Gratitude changes your perspective to see the abundance you have instead of focusing on what you lack. It opens your eyes to see the possibilities instead of the problems.

Where worry constricts your heart, thanks-giving worship expands it.

The moment you cry out to God in weakness, He meets you with His strength.

May you call out to Jesus and be filled with gratitude, worship and divine strength to be who He has created you to be today. 

Walking It Out

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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 I 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 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.

Love and 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?

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?