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.

More to Life

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“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.

Life with God is about worshipping Him when we wake, when we walk, when we clean, when we work, when we eat, when we get dressed.

Life with God is about knowing that you are saved by grace and reconciled to Him because of the sacrifice of Jesus.

Life with God is about knowing that 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 Him and is unshakable.

The rest is frosting.

You are Made to be Free

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“My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.”
Psalm 25:15 NIV
There is a point in your life when you realize that God is the only one who can release you from a snare.
A small but strong string of hurt, fear or unforgiveness that has wrapped around your heart and is tripping you up or holding you back.
It might have been set by someone else by action or word or it may have been something you inadvertently set for yourself: an inner vow to never trust again or never ask for help because you got rejected last time you did.
It’s frustrating.
It can almost become crippling.
Here is the thing: 
The one who hurt you, can’t heal you.    
You think that the words “I’m sorry” will heal you but they will not.
You don’t need an apology to be whole, you need Jesus to make you whole.
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 at to make you whole?
If they are anywhere else but Jesus, you will be disappointed and frustrated.
Look to the Lord to release you from the snare that is holding you back today.
What is that snare?
What is Jesus asking you to do about it?

Habits that Sabotage

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We all have old habits that we want to get rid of. We have had those habits for so long that we do them without even thinking about it.

However, there is a particular old habit that Jesus is more concerned about than the one you are thinking of.

It is a habit that belongs to your old nature:  you desire to get your way in everything and work to make sure that your way happens.

It IS human nature.

But my friend, you have a new nature in Christ.

You have been recreated in Him – The old has gone, the new has come.

“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

But old habits die hard.

Those habits are sabotaging your freedom to live in your new nature.

When we struggle, we 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 an old nature habit.

It starts with your thinking.

Ask Jesus to help you change your mind about suffering, breaking habits and the ability to be free to do His will, His way in everything you do.

“Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.”

Out with the old, in the with new.

It’s not by your power, it’s by His.

My friend, I am praying that today you will break free from the mental habits that are sabotaging your freedom in Christ and that the suffering you are experiencing will break  the power of it.  God’s grace is sufficient. God’s love is unending. God’s strength will get you through.