Clean Your Connection

One day when my oldest son was about 11 years old, he walked into our bedroom with his shoulders slumped and said, “The charger is broken- it won’t charge the laptop and it just died”.

My husband brought the laptop into our bedroom and first thing he checked all the connections on the cord. A few minutes later, I noticed that he had put the laptop down and didn’t seem too worried about it.

“Did you fix it?” I asked.

“Oh, yea I did”, he said. “The connection just needed to be cleaned. It was just dirty. After I cleaned it, it connected just fine and now it is charging.”

It was that simple, a clogged connection.

Your connection point to God is your heart. It is where the power of God fills you and the grace of God heals you.  Your heart gets clogged and dirty from the wear and tear of life, with bits of small lies believed or big judgments perceived getting in the crevices. These days it may be getting clogged by fear as you read Covid-19 headlines and news reports.

Your heart needs to be cleaned often.

Fear and anxiety cleaned out so that you can connect fully to faith, to hope and to courage.

Pray this prayer as many times as you need to:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any [n]hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:23-24‬ ‭NASB

It is amazing what a difference it makes when your heart is clear and your connection with God is restored to full power.

Apply Daily.

What is clogging your connection to God today?

What is filling your heart today?

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? 

Make the Most of Every Opportunity

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Time is a strange thing.
There are days when an hour can feel like a day and days that feel like an hour.
I feel like I have too much time and not enough time all at the same time.
This is especially an interesting time for us all.
Worldwide we are all experiencing the same thing at the same time.
My mom in California is on lock-down and staying home, I am in Florida with my husband and two boys and my brother is in Canada with his wife and two boys. I just got a text to let me know that my sister-in-law, who is a nurse, was exposed to a patient with the virus and they are in quarantine at home.  Just like that, what was “out there” is now “in here”, and hits home.
No matter how far away or how close your family is, suddenly time is short and precious.

It is times like these that make us aware of it.

“Make the most of every opportunity.”

Colossians 4:5 MSG

No Verbal Distancing Needed

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“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”

James 3:5 NIV

Words are powerful.

The words you say to yourself and the words you say to others.

We are all practicing “social distancing” in order to slow the spread of Covid-19 but right now we need to use our words to encourage and uplift people more than ever before.

Now is not the time for “verbal distancing”. In fact, your words have more power than ever before.

Your words can spark hope and inspire people or they can light a fire of fear and paranoia. Choose life. Choose hope. Choose care. Choose encouragement.

God has given you the great privilege of being the spark that lights the fire in the hearts of the people you are connecting to. 

Whether it is a fire to warm and nourish others or one that burns and destroys them is up to you.

Use your words to light a fire of faith in someone’s heart.

Encourage, uplift, pray for and love those around you today.

What you say matters and impacts people’s lives.

Choose wisely.

Stay Salty

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“You are the salt of the earth.”
Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭13‬ NIV

When Jesus said that you are the salt of the earth, He is saying that you are valuable and meant to enhance this world with the flavor of His grace. In His day, salt was used as valuable currency, as well as a precious food preservative and additive that enhances the flavor of food.

My friend, wherever God has placed you, whoever He has surrounded you with, whatever job He has given you to do, Jesus has you there for a purpose and it is not as complicated as you think it is.

You are there to add value. That alone is a gift that so many people are craving- simply the recognition that they are valued and they are valuable to God– so valuable that Jesus paid the ultimate price to love them.

You are there to be a precious preservative to the world you live in and in the work you do. Preserve respect, show dignity and honor those around you.

You are there to enhance the essence of who God has created them to be. When you celebrate what God has put in them, you liberate them to see it as well.

May God shake you up and pour you out for someone who desperately needs to know that they are precious and valuable to God. May you bring honor with you and enhance every relationship you engage in today. 

Stay salty.

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?