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

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“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?

 

Grave Clothes

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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.

Grudges

Grudges clutter your soul with bitterness and weigh your heart down.

Living hurt because people lied to you in the past does not help you live in peace now.

Nursing the anger of dealing with people whose pride cut your life to shreds doesn’t help you heal but it does keep you emotionally wounded.

When you forgive someone, you are not denying what they did.  In fact, you are assigning responsibility for their actions to them. You are acknowledging the truth of what happened and how it impacted you.

Forgiveness is vital to the soul, it is balm and healing, relief and redeeming.

Letting go of a grudge is vital because you are valuable.  

What do you need to let go of today?

Who do you need to forgive and give to God?

 

 

Less Care, More Adventure

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Life with Jesus is about love, risk, adventure, faith, serving, giving, and enjoying.

“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 peace every day and then pouring 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.

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.

Jesus has made a way so you can experience far more than that.

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

The rest is frosting.

The Incessant​ Whispers of Envy

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Envy is the lie at the heart of comparison.

It whispers with an incessant voice:

“you are not enough”,
“you don’t have enough”,
“you could be enough if only….”

Envy robs you of enjoying what you do have and who God has created you to be.

When you believe the lie of envy, you immediately trade abundant life for an abundant lie.

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:9-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God does not envy. He has everything, he is everything. He is not lacking in any area and he has made all his resources available to you in Christ.

In Christ, you are enough. You are embraced, loved, cherished, equipped, empowered and complete. You have been given access to all that is in God in Jesus.

God’s plan for your life is not to be consumed by envy.

Confess it, take it to the cross, leave it there.

Begin to walk in the fullness of who you are in Christ and leave the emptiness of envy at the cross today.

Don’t waste another second on it.