What You Want

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.

“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 Are Free

“So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free.”  John 8:36 (AMP)

Are you discouraged today because it seems like real change is impossible?

Real change takes time.  

God’s love is real and He gives you His power to break old habits, thought patterns, temptations, and addictions.

So then why does it take so long to learn how to live in this freedom?

It is because in this world you have been well trained by life’s enslaving lies.  Your flesh or old nature, has old habits, temptations, and thought patterns that are deeply set in it through years of experience and practice.

In Christ, you have a new nature.

Knowing Jesus means that you have the hope of real change, exponential growth, and truly transforming life.

Don’t give up.

When Jesus sets you free, you are free. 

I Dare You

“He has given us a new life because we are united with Christ Jesus. He saved us so that now we can do good things in our lives. Those are good things that he has already prepared for us to do.“

Ephesians 2:10

God’s agenda for your life is dripping in love and mercy.

You are redeemed to live a new life in Christ.

This new life comes with new things to do and new people to love.

Things that He has already prepared for you to do and people He has already put in your path.

Living God’s agenda in your life doesn’t mean that nothing gets done, it means that your to-do list doesn’t determine your impact, your trust in God does.  

If you dare to take God at His Word and trust that He has already prepared it for you, new life in Christ becomes a reality instead of just a good idea.

Surrender your to-do list and ask God to lead you to the “good things He has already prepared” for you to do today.

I dare you.

Don’t Wait For Someday

“I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.”‭‭Jude‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Today you don’t have to strive to take care of “number one”, you are in the care of Jesus.

Today you don’t have to stress to win the approval of others, you are accepted by Jesus.

Today you are called by the God who loves you to come near.

You don’t have to wait until tomorrow. 

You don’t have to wait until someday when you are good enough or until you get your life altogether or until you “get better” at whatever you are trying to get better at.

Don’t wait, live in the truth of God’s love for you today.

The Lamb of God

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 my blood, which is poured out for you.” 

Luke 22:19-20 NIV

It was their last supper together.

A symbolic dinner that told 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 and in the middle of the story.

He picked up the bread, 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.

After they celebrated the angel of death passing over those homes that were marked with the blood of the lamb, they witnessed the blood of the Chosen One being spilled under the lash of the whip and poured out on the wood of a Roman cross.

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

For you. 

For me. 

Forever.

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

Set Free

“You have been set free from sin” Romans 6:22 NIV

It is Jesus clothed in the white garments of resurrection, bearing the fresh scars of the crucifixion declaring to the universe that the power of sin is broken.

The good news is that all who come to Him are set free.

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

The power of sin in your life can feel like a noose that 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 do not have to live in bondage anymore.

Jesus took that noose upon His own neck for you. He took the penalty it demanded, death. Then He conquered death in a blaze of glory and hold freedom in His hands.

Wherever shame lurks and condemnation whispers, wherever fear and anxiety chokes, wherever lies and rejection linger – Jesus comes.

He comes with His love, His power, His mercy and His forgiveness.

He washes away the stains of the past and brings to you new hope for the future.  

He sets you free to live a new kind of life.

One saturated in His love and filled with His power.

The power of sin has been broken.

How will you live the truth of it today?

Like This.

“Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” Ephesians. 5:2 Message Version

The Scripture above doesn’t say:
Mostly what God does is judge us.
Mostly what God does is condemn us.
Mostly what God does is punish us.
Mostly what God does is give up on us.

No, mostly what God does is love us.

He holds nothing back but gives us more and more and more. He loves us whether we feel it or not. He loves us when we are doing good or not. Can’t earn it. Don’t deserve it, nonetheless…what God mostly does is love us.

It reminds me of a phrase from the book, The Shack by William P. Young: “The nature of love is that it is freely given and received freely. God loves the lost and saved the same. He loves, period.”

He loves, period.

Do you know you are loved like this today?

Do you know you can love others this way?

Grudges

Holding a grudge clutters the soul with bitterness.

Forgiveness is vital to your soul and it is a journey Jesus wants to walk you through.

It is vital because you are valuable.

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

God doesn’t deny that bad things happen or that people will take advantage of you but He also doesn’t abandon you to it either.

Jesus is saying that when someone takes advantage of you, give them what you have and move on with your life.  Let it go.  Forgive it.

In this way, you will be living in the abundance of God’s love instead of the famine of your past hurts.

You are not meant to carry the heavy load of resentment and regret.

What resentment or regret is weighing you down?

What grudge is poisoning your soul?

Bring them all to Jesus and lay each one at the foot of the cross. Then, take a deep breath and allow Him to fill the newly evacuated space with the cleansing power of His love.

Dwell

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The word dwell invokes the picture of where you live.

Where you wake up in the morning, brush your teeth and get ready for your day.

It is the place where all your “stuff” is, no matter how much stuff you have.

It is the place at the end of the day that you surrender to sleep and recharge.

You are made to dwell in the shelter of God’s presence.

To wake to His love, live in His love, rest in His love.

Jesus made it possible so you could live this today and dwell in the shadow of the Almighty’s love everyday after.

A Careless Life

There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.”

Matthew 6:25, 26 MSG

Life with God is about being filled with His love and then pouring it out on all those around you.

It is worshipping Him when we wake, when we walk, when we clean, when we work, when we eat, when we get dressed.

It is knowing you are saved by grace and reconciled to Him because of the sacrifice of Jesus.

It is knowing He loves you because you are His kid and He enjoys spending time with you.

My friend, you are a child of God who is cherished, chosen and provided for.

Live in the freedom of His love.

Live care-less in the care of God.

Live more in this truth and less in the lie that you are valued because of what you look like, eat, wear or do.

This life, this love, this security comes from Jesus and is unshakable.

The rest is frosting.