Unwritten

Friday

Before your day gets started I want to remind you that it hasn’t happened yet.
It is a day yet to be lived.
It is a page in your story that is unwritten.

Just because your story has been going one way up until today, doesn’t mean it has to continue that way.

Just because you made a bad decision yesterday, doesn’t mean you have to make one today…or tomorrow.

Just because yesterday’s habits were unhealthy doesn’t mean today you have to continue in them.

You choose.

You have the freedom of choice and with Jesus, you have the power to change.

Today is unwritten.
God has a plan.
You have the pen.

Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Philippians 4:13 MSG

Stay Calm

Thursday

It was an impossible situation.

The Israelites were stuck between the sea and their former slave masters coming to recapture them:

“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 newfound 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 let fear dictate your decisions.

2. Don’t run around trying to figure out what to do. Stop. Pray. Listen. Stand still and watch the LORD work.

When going forward looks like an impossibility, trust Him.

He goes before you.

He goes behind you.

He stands next to you.

The LORD Himself will fight for you. 

You get to know about God as you trust Him to be God.

Trust Him and watch what He is about to do.

I Desire

Monday

I’ve learned that my desires are not good taskmasters but they do make great idols.  They also make flawed foundations for a relationship with God or anyone else.

I’m not saying that your desires are bad, in fact, I believe that the Lord puts loads of good desires in your heart: the desire to love and be loved, to connect and be connected to,  to cherish and to be cherished.  What I am saying is that if the focus of your life is getting your desires met that you will be miserable and probably not even know why.

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”‭‭

Psalm‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Which side of the comma are you living in?

Take delight in the Lord,

or

And he will give you the desires of your heart?

Delight, desires.

What you focus on determines how you experience your life.

When you are focusing on delighting (joy, great enjoyment, and pleasure) in the Lord, the world will seem like a wide-open space for you to experience with someone you love.

When you focus on the desires of your heart, the world can seem like a small closed space in which you can only see what you don’t have and experience and envy what everyone else seems to have.

Living on the delight side of the comma means that your focus is on your relationship with God and being delighted in Him, by Him and with Him and trusting Him with the rest.

There is sweet freedom found in delighting in your relationship with God while letting Him hold all your desires to do what He may. He is a good Father and knows you more than you know yourself.

How are you delighting in the Lord?

What is making you miserable?

What side of the comma are you living on?

Peace of Mind

April-27-a

“Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it.

And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff.  Live generously.

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:38-42‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Jesus always challenges the “normal” way to deal with things and is speaking here of a different way to live your life.  A way the doesn’t come naturally or how most people live but a different way altogether that doesn’t depend on “getting ahead” but depends on God’s faithful provision for you financially, physically, and spiritually. When God is your source, others don’t have to be.

He says that if someone takes advantage of you- give them what you have and move on with your life. Let it go. Trust God to give you what you need. Ask God to bless them.

In this way, you will be living in the abundance of God’s love instead of the famine of bitter resentments.

God doesn’t deny that bad things happen or that people might take advantage of you but He also doesn’t abandon you to it. He empowers you to trust Him and pours out His Spirit on you so that you can move on.

True freedom is living generously in your heart, spirit, and life.

It is going beyond the bare minimum to experiencing full abundance in Christ.

It doesn’t happen in a day but it happens as you walk with Jesus, day by day.

My friend, I know you have been wronged. I know someone has taken advantage of you. I know that someone is asking something from you that is unreasonable. All I am saying today is that you ask Jesus if whatever it is, is worth your peace of mind and the state of your heart.

I am praying for you today. 

The Last Supper

Tues 4-7

And he took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after supper, he took the cup saying, “This cup is the new covenant in the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Luke 22:19-20 NIV

A symbolic dinner to tell the ancient story of freedom from slavery and redemption from death itself.

A lamb for each family that crowded the streets of Jerusalem that week.  A lamb sacrificed by a Temple priest.  A lamb that was consumed later as they moved through each symbolic element: the meat, the unleavened bread, the bitter herbs, the egg, the cups of wine, the applesauce.

The disciples were celebrating a holiday, Jesus was fulfilling prophecy.

Then Jesus put himself on the plate, put Himself in the story. He picked up the bread and broke it and said, “This is my body given for you”. He took the cup and said, “This is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you.” Only God can make a new covenant. And He did.

It was their last supper together.

After they celebrated the angel of death passing over those whose homes were marked with the blood of the lamb, they saw the blood of the Chosen One spilled under the lash of the whip and poured out on the wood of a Roman cross as He died before their eyes.

It was the last Passover Jesus had with His disciples before Jesus became the Passover Lamb for His disciples and the world.

For you.

For me.

Forever.

And a new way to remember it, we call it communion.

 

Quiet it All

“If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”  Mark 4:23 NIV

When life gets loud, stressful and fear-filled, listening gets difficult.

With all there is to listen to for up to date information and then all the things we do to distract us from it all, it can be difficult to hear what God is saying to us.

Jesus is always communicating with you. He is always speaking truth to you.

Today is a day to listen.

To quiet everything.

To step back and breathe.

To quiet the stress, the worries, the distractions, the screens, social media, or anything else that is draining your ability to hear Jesus.

Jesus is speaking to you and He has something that He wants you to hear clearly.

I am asking Jesus to give you ears to hear and to prepare a quiet place for you to receive His word for you today.

What is creating the most internal noise in your life right now?

What do you need to do to quiet down the external noise to be able to hear God’s voice better?

What is Jesus saying to you today?

Off-Road

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.”
Psalm 33:20 NIV

The Hebrew word used for “wait” in Psalm 33:20 implies being tied to or binding yourself to something.

For me, the picture of a seatbelt comes to mind.

When I was a teenager, I went to the movies with a friend. I met him at his house, climbed into his truck and buckled myself in. We drove down the street and then he stopped. He told me that we were going to take a shortcut and we were going to go off-roading. He checked my seatbelt, put his truck in four-wheel drive and turned toward the ravine. I was excited, slightly terrified and said, “Let’s go for it!”  I have never appreciated a seatbelt more. It held me in my seat on the sharp inclines and steep declines, over the rocky bumps and through the unlevel dry river beds. We arrived at the theater with plenty of time, but to be honest, I remember the journey there more than the movie we saw.

Following Jesus is more like off-roading than driving on the freeway.

He takes you to new places, asks you to grow out of your comfort zones and challenges you to take the road not traveled.

Today Jesus may be calling you to go off-road, or like Peter: out of the boat.

When Peter saw Jesus, he asked Him if he could join Jesus out there on the water. Jesus said yes and Peter went over the side of the boat:

“Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:29-30‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Streams of the Desert”:

“Once he had stepped out of the boat, the waves were none of his business”.

 – Streams of the Desert

Peter’s job wasn’t to walk on water but it was to keep his eyes on Jesus.

As we all try to navigate the unknown future that is daily being created by the Covid-19 Virus, being stuck at home may be our new “off-road”. Having nowhere to go may be harder because you can’t run from the problems there.  I can guarantee that God wants to take this time to grow your faith, your prayer life, and your relationships.

Maybe today, God is asking you to reconcile a relationship that has been broken or work on one in your home. Now is the time to be brave. Get close to God, put your faith-belt on and tell the truth. It’s not going to be easy but you are not alone in it.

What is God challenging you to trust Him in today?

Who do you need the faith to reach out to?

 

What Counts Right Now

“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

Galatians 5:6 NIV

Q. What counts more than money, things, activities, entertainment or even a clean house?

A. Faith expressing itself through love.

It is like having a keychain packed full of keys and on it is this really little one. You know that one random key that you are not sure what it is for but you are afraid to throw it out in case you need it.

What if on the packed keychain of your life, you find out that there is a key that unlocks a vault where all the richest treasures are stored?

That key is your faith in Jesus expressed through love.

Jesus told His disciples in Luke 17:6 that they didn’t need to have big faith.  He said that if they put into action the little faith they did have, mountains would move.

My friend, it’s not the size of your faith but the size of your God that moves mountains. 

All you need is a tiny bit of faith to take the first step or a crumb of hope to get you through it.

All you need to do is see a little bit of the dream Jesus has for you,  then add love and put it into action. Take a little bit of trusting in His power, add a pinch of faith and do that something that comes next – the next right thing?

When you are at that place where it seems a positive change is more like turning the Titanic than turning a key, call out to Jesus.

If you need faith for your situation, He will let you use His.

If you need to remember the dream, ask God, He dreamt it first for you.

If you need monumental hope, He is the God of all hope.

Take the little you have right now and put it in action. 

What will you do today with the little faith you have?

How will you express it through love? 

What is the Point?

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“The whole point of what we’re urging is simply love —love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God.”

1 Timothy‬ ‭1‬:‭5 MSG

The whole point is to love others and live your life open to God.

To simply love and simply be loved.

To love God and love people.

It is simple but certainly not easy.

Self-interest complicates it. It is difficult to simply love others when your innate human desire to self-protect kicks in.

It is easier to go with the flow of human nature than to intentionally choose God’s way.

It is easier to hedge your bets against hurt than it is to be vulnerable and reach out.

It is easier to build your case of good reasons to disconnect than it is to lay them down and trust Jesus.

Going down that road, you will find yourself isolated and self-righteous instead of connected and invested.

A life open to God means that you recognize when human nature hijacks the work God wants to do in you and through you.

Sin complicates it, brokenness contaminates it, unforgiveness taints it.

The cross simplifies it. 

The only way to deal with your human nature is to take it to the cross of Jesus.

The place He laid down His life and took up your sin.

He took your brokenness there so he could offer you wholeness here.

He took the bitterness of unforgiveness there, so he could offer you the sweetness of grace here.

The cross is where you can lay down your nature and freely take up his. 

Be set free to be who God created you to be by simply loving those who God brings to you- they need it as much as you do. 

What do you need to take to the cross today? 

What does living your life open to God mean to you? 

Who, in your world, desperately needs your love? 

Called

 

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It is a call each and every one of us has received. It is the voice of the Savior clothed in the white garments of resurrection and bearing the fresh scars of the crucifixion. 

You are called to live a life of freedom. 

Are you free?

Are you living in the precious freedom bought by the sacrifice and resurrection of  Jesus Christ?

Free from sin.
Free from it’s power and control.
Free from it’s prison of shame and guilt.
Free from its endless demands, requirements, small print and a false sense of control. 

It is the noose of slavery the enemy gently lays upon your neck. Then slowly, surely, he begins to tighten it until you feel trapped, choked and bound. 

It is a lie. You are not called to live in bondage.

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters.  

Galatians 5:13 NLT

Wherever shame lurks and condemnation whispers, that is the place where freedom belongs. Freedom that has already been paid for and comes with an Almighty Savior to help you apply it. 

Are you called to be free?

Yes. Yes, you are.