“Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.” Matthew 6:12 MSG
The important thing about goals is having the right goals.
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:14 NIV
Don’t waste your life going after goals to make yourself more comfortable.
Go after Jesus– His love, His agenda and His goals for your life (which has more to do with who you are than what you look like and giving more than getting more).
Life following Jesus is not comfortable or easy – it is unique, unexpected and adventurous.
At the end of your life, you may or may not have human praise and awards but if you choose the goal of letting God transform you with His love, you will have rich relationships, miraculous moments and the most important thing you can have with you as you step into eternity – Jesus.
He is the prize.
Go after Jesus and make your relationship with Him the main goal of your life.
The rest of your goals will fall in line.
May you clearly hear His voice, boldly follow His guidance and passionately pursue His heart in all things today.
It is times like these that make us aware of it.
“Make the most of every opportunity.”
Colossians 4:5 MSG
“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.
There is no such thing as normal.
There is routine, there is what you are used to, there is “how things used to be”, but there is no normal.
Life changes, jobs change, children grow, people pass away, new seasons of life come whether you are prepared for them or not.
Stop worrying about being “normal” or working to get things “back to normal”.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lordʼs holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV
Being rooted and established in Christ means that He is your anchor, your security, your place of rest in the midst of chaos. His love is not shaken. You hope can rest on Him and not in your present circumstances.
Let go of trying to be normal and focus on being established in love with roots that grow deep in the soil of who Jesus is.
Give Him room in your heart and let Him live through you.
New seasons bring new normals but Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Draw your security from God today and dig in to get the most from this time in your life.
I want to encourage you today that no matter how dark the situation is, believe that God can do something in it anyway.
I want to challenge you to dare to trust Him in the desert – there is a promised land and you are on your way to it.
My prayer for you is that like Abraham you will decide to live today not based on what you can’t do but on what God can do through you. His power sustaining you to walk, to love, to care and to be fully alive even though you may feel mostly dead inside.
“Abraham was first named ‘father’ and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing.
When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do.”
Romans 4:17-18 MSG
Long before Abraham saw the fruit of the promise, he believed God anyway. Though everything in his life seemed to indicate otherwise, he lived his life, every day, not looking at the impossibility of the promise but in the possibility of God.
I am sure that there were times that Abraham barely believed. I know that there were days that he was only holding on to a bare thread of hope…but he held on.
Hold on, my friend, you may only have a thread of hope, but in Christ that thread is stronger than what you face and will hold against that which you fear.
I know you don’t see how it will happen but God does.
In Exodus 14 the Israelites were stuck between the sea before them and their former slave masters coming to recapture them. It was an impossible situation.
“But Moses told the people,
‘Don’t be afraid.
Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today.
The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again.
The LORD himself will fight for you.
Just stay calm.”’
Exodus 14:13-14 NLT
Hemmed in by the mountains on both sides, they had no way out and no way forward. Their new found freedom seemed fleetingly short and ultimately doomed.
They knew that God had delivered them from slavery but little more. They had not been free long enough to learn how powerful He is. They didn’t know that He would fight for them, split the sea before them and rescue them from an impossible situation.
They did not know God…yet.
When you don’t want to go back but don’t know how you are going to go forward, trust God and:
1. Don’t be afraid (don’t let fear dictate your decisions).
2. Stand still and watch the LORD rescue you (stop trying to fix the situation yourself. Let God work).
The LORD Himself will fight for you.
When going forward looks like an impossibility, God is not punishing you, He is teaching you more about Himself.
Trust Him and watch what He is about to do.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.””
Psalm 91:1-2 NIV
It can be exhausting to find rest.
If you look to a person to provide rest, a safe place to hide, a security in an insecure world – they will fail you because they are fallible human beings. At their best, they are as broken as you are and looking to you to find rest.
If you look to a job or career as a place of safety, security, or fulfillment you may have seasons of it but economies change, companies change and you change. They are at best a temporary place of financial security.
Even if you look to the church to be a place of rest, it can fail you because the church is made of people. The Word says to find rest in God, not the church. You go to church to learn, grow, give, serve, bless, be blessed and so on.
Go to Jesus for your salvation, your refuge, your direction, strength, peace and abundant life.
The church is only there to point you to Jesus.
The only true place of refuge, security, peace and rest is in the shadow of the Almighty God. What does that mean? It means that you stick close to God’s side. So close, in fact, you walk in His shadow.
Jesus came to show you how to live so close to the Father that you bask in the shadow of the Almighty. Then He made it possible to live this way by going to the cross.
Jesus cleared the way so you can walk this close with God.
He is your refuge.
He is your fortress.
He is your Father and you can trust Him.
He is your place of rest, not just when everything is going good but when everything is falling apart.
He is your refuge when you are tired of fighting the battle.
He is your fortress when the battle is too much to take.
My friend, whatever today brings – may you dwell in the shelter of the Most High God and stick so close that you live in the shadow of His love.
Forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a choice to let God have it, hold it, and be responsible for it– whatever it is.
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
Colossians 3:13 NLT
Forgiveness is taking the power away from them and giving it back to God.
You don’t have to trust them to forgive them.
Forgiveness is not about restoring trust in them, it is about trusting God with your heart.
They don’t have to be sorry in order for you to forgive them. They don’t even have to know that you have released them to God.
What you do have to do is make the choice today and every day after, then continue to make the choice until the feeling lines up with the decision.
And it will.
One day you will be able to remember what happened without reliving the pain.
“When we forgive an offense, we set a prisoner free, only to discover that we were that prisoner”.
– Freedom Groups, Week 7
God IS with you.
He is the creator of the universe and He is with you.
He does not reside in the past, however wonderful or horrible yours was.
He does not jump ahead to the future unknowables and fear filled wonderings.
He is here with you.
Right where you are.
The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Psalms 46:11 NKJV
The “Selah” at the end of the Psalm is a word that means “pause and think about it”.
Take this moment, this one right here, to pause whatever you are in the middle of and think about the reality that God IS with you. It is a gift, a miracle and a privilege to be experienced every day.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Philippians 4:4 NIV
May your day be filled with Selah, the awe, and wonder that God is with you and the desire to have a conversation with Him all day long.