Let Us Dare

20140703-214908-78548922-2

 

“Let us dare to read, think, speak and write”

– John Adams

For this and so much more, I am celebrating America today.

Not because we are perfect but because we are tenacious.

Not because we have it all together but because we are willing to try and keep trying to get it together.

Not because life is easy but because life has always been hard, will not get easier but we are willing to work hard for life.

I celebrate today because I can write, think, speak and pray out loud as an American.

Tonight as I watch the fireworks being lit and fired, I will be thankful that I am alive today in this country at this time.

I will pray that this year I will read ferociously, speak fearlessly, think authentically and write faithfully because I have the freedom to do so.

“I’m thanking you, GOD, from a full heart, I’m writing the book on your wonders. I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; I’m singing your song, High God.” Psalm 9:1, 2 MSG

What are you going to do with your freedom this year?

 

 

Not Empty Handed

98147-Joel-Osteen-Quote-God-will-give-you-strength-when-you-think-you

“And when you release them, do not send them away empty-handed.”

Deuteronomy 15:13 NIV

My friend, when you have been released to live a new life in Christ you do not begin your new life empty-handed.

In the Old Testament when God laid out to the Israelites how their community would work, He put in a clause to assure that those who found themselves in desperate financial situations would have a way out. If they sold themselves into slavery to survive, they would not have to stay a slave forever – it could only last 7 years. Then their owner must release the slave and send them away with the means to begin a new life.

It was called The Lord’s Release.

Jesus is the fulfillment of The Lord’s Release.

God will use what the enemy meant for harm to bring you good and fill your hands with blessings.

God will give you what you need when you need it.

You are not empty handed as a child of God.

He may not show you the end of the new road you are on but He will give you the strength to take each step on it.

You are provided for, equipped and empowered to walk in freedom in Christ today.

Go after all God has called you to do!

Tenderhearted

“A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life; a hardhearted person lives a hard life.”
‭‭Proverbs  ‭28:14‬ ‭MSG‬‬

You were created to be tenderhearted, to feel life.

To feel the good, the bad, the joy, the sorrow and all the moments in-between.

It seems easier to let your heart go hard when the hurt gets overwhelming and when the betrayal stings.

Don’t do it.

Don’t succumb to the temptation to become brittle and bitter.

Don’t stay stuck there, dwelling on what happened or what should have happened. Don’t let that shape your future.

Fight for a tender heart.

It means that you have to feel the pain and process it. It means you have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death with God, not without Him.

It means that you grieve what you have lost all the way through to acceptance so you can live after it.

Stay tender-hearted, my friend.

Don’t let life (or other people’s choices) rob you from living in full color.

Your future will thank you for it.

Jesus died for you to live in it.

God will walk with you all the way through it.

Lord give me thick skin and a tender heart. 

When to Pray

“From inside the fish, Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.”

Jonah 2:1 NIV

When is the best time to pray?

– when you have run from God.

– when you have been disobedient and rebellious.

– when you have done your own thing, your way and find yourself in the center of a  devastating storm.

– when you realize that God is BIGGER than your fear and STRONGER than the storm.

– when you are in the very center of something that is far bigger than you and you have no power to get out of it.

– when you are ready to let go of your preconceived ideas of what God is calling you to and willing to serve wherever you are, with whatever God has given you, right now. 

When is the best time to pray?

NOW… whatever your “now” looks like.

What’s keeping you from prayer? 

What have you been running from? 

What is Jesus asking you to do right now? 

Grave Tending

deborah-tindle-6

“The life you THINK you want could be stopping the life God MEANT for you to live.”
– Matthew Barnett

“So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There is nothing in it, nothing at all. The best thing to is to give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It is adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, ‘what’s next Papa?”’.

Romans 8:12-15 MSG

Having dreams and goals are vitally important to help us make choices, take the right opportunities and say no to the wrong ones. But even “the dream” can become an idol when we refuse to surrender it to God. We can easily slip into a habit of worshipping the “what if” and “what may be” or “what I want it to be.”

When you are tending regrets and spending all your energy in the cemetery of unmet needs, goals or dreams, it is difficult to participate in a new life in Christ. The verse above is worded in the immediacy of now and is a moment by moment adventure.

When God sends you a vision of your future, it is to get you moving in the right direction. When He lays a burden on your heart it is to pull towards His purpose for you. He does not lift the call, but He will refine and redefine it constantly.

“What’s next Papa?”

I will leave this “dream” in His hands. I will live in anticipation of fulfilling it daily in any way He chooses and in the opportunities before me. I will give the past a decent burial, even the good things that never happened. Those are trickier, I think.

I don’t want anything less. I will get up and walk out of this emotional cemetery and with a skip to my step ask God, “What is next?”.

What grave have you been tending? What is the “dream” that is holding you back from being fully present in the beautiful life Jesus has for you?

 

New Day

Good-Morning-motivational-new-day-quotes-for-everybody

I wanted to remind you that today 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 you are in a habit that is unhealthy yesterday, doesn’t mean you have to repeat it today.

You have the freedom of choice and 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

Grave Clothes

img_7103-1-2

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

John‬ ‭11‬:‭43-44‬ NIV

Lazarus was dead. His body wrapped tightly in grave clothes and laid to rest. The world had already moved on, the end of the story already written. It was over.

But the story was not over for God.

Just when Mary and Martha thought that it was too late, Jesus came and did the most unexpected thing: He raised Lazarus from the dead. He had someone roll away the stone and then called him out.

In one of the most remarkable passages of Scripture, Jesus speaks to death and it is defied. It is powerless before the commanding Word of the Son of God.

You may think that your story has already been written.

That it is over.

That where you are right now is where you will always be.

That your usefulness, your marriage, your ministry, your job, your purpose, your hopes lay dead and lifeless at your feet.

Jesus still defies death. You may think the story is over but God doesn’t.

He will call life from death and unbind the grave clothes that cling.

He will call your name, remind you who you are and whose you are.

He will change the ending. 

He will resurrect relationships, restore callings, redefine life as you know it and move you into the light.

The story of Lazarus is more than an example of a miracle, it is a proclamation of the power of Jesus to raise the dead things in us and a reminder to us today that all death means nothing in the light of His love.

When fear rises up to tell you that your story is already over, begin to loudly proclaim that in Christ your story has only just begun.