What You Want

Thursday

We all have habits that we need to get rid of. However, there is a particular habit that Jesus is more concerned about breaking than the one you are thinking of: it is the desire to get your own way.

It is human nature but my friend, you have a new nature in Christ.

You are being recreated in Him – The old has gone, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).

“Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:1-2‬ ‭MSG‬‬

When we struggle, we may think it is because God doesn’t love us. In reality, it might be that He loves you so much that He will use the stressful opportunity at hand to break the habit of the-only-way-I-will-be-happy-is-when-I-get-my-way.

God has more for you than that and He calls it freedom. 

 

You Have It

Monday

God doesn’t say, “it will be easy” nor does He say, “there will be no battles”.

He says:

“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭33:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

You will have to face difficulties, impossible situations, and fierce battles as you pursue God’s call on your life.

And through each one, Jesus is leading you to rest in the security of His love. To pursue the power of His peace. To find and capture the truth that is the freedom He has bought for you to live in.

No matter what is happening around you, you are not alone to deal with it – the Spirit of God is with you.

God’s promise is that His rest is yours. His peace is yours. His freedom is yours. It was fulfilled through Jesus’ death and resurrection and activated by your trust in Him.

You don’t have to earn it, you have to receive it.

Little Snares

Thursday
“My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.”
Psalm 25:15 NIV
Sometimes a small cord of fear becomes a snare that holds you back.
Sometimes a resilient string of hurt traps you from moving forward.
Maybe a trap of bitterness has wrapped itself around your ankle.
And if you don’t acknowledge it, it may become crippling.
Look to the Lord to release you from the snare that is holding you back today.
He is the only one who can heal your heart.
He made it, will remake it, and will continue to bring up the little snares that need to be healed because they hold you back from who you are created to be.
Who are you looking to heal your heart today?
If it is anyone else but Jesus, you will be disappointed and frustrated.

The Freedom of Forgiveness

Wednesday

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  

Colossians 3:13 NIV

Forgiveness breaks the power of the past.

Forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a choice.

It is a choice to let God have it, hold it, and be responsible for it- whatever it is. 

Forgiveness is taking the power away from someone else and giving it back to God. 

You don’t have to trust someone to forgive them.

They don’t have to know you forgive them.

They don’t have to be sorry in order for you to forgive them.

Forgiveness is not about restoring trust in them, it is about trusting God with them

What you do have to do is make the choice to give them to God.

And then every day after, make the choice to give them to God.

Keep doing that until the feelings lines up with the decision.

Forgiveness is about freedom – yours.

Who do you need to forgive today?

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?