Unexpected Storms

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“Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.”  Matthew‬ ‭8‬:‭24‬ NIV

Since living in Southern Florida for the past couple of years, I have a healthy respect for storms that come on quickly and are ferocious. Almost every morning in the summer, the fluffy white clouds that fill the blue expanse of the sky turn to churning dark thunderclouds by the afternoon.  Some afternoon storms are gentle showers and over quickly. Often they rip the sky open with the crack of lightning, heart-pounding thunderclaps and vicious wind.

The verse above describes a storm on the Sea of Galilee that came on so suddenly and was so ferocious that seasoned fisherman (the disciples) feared for their lives.

And what was Jesus doing? He was sleeping. He was resting.

He didn’t get in the boat at the beginning of the voyage and quiet the winds and calm the waves before he fell asleep, Jesus rested right in the middle of it.

The storm did not disturb him.

How did Jesus rest in the midst of an unexpected storm?

Jesus knew before He got into the boat:

  1.  That God, His Father determined His time on earth, not a storm- even the most ferocious of ones.
  2.  Who and whose He was: the Son of God, on a mission from God, filled with the power of God.
  3. He knew that His mission was not over yet.

The best thing for you to do in a storm is to trust God and rest. 

Rest in God’s sovereignty.  He knows the moment you will cross into eternity.  This storm will not be the end of your story and God does not have half a plan.

Rest in knowing who and whose you are: a cherished child of God, redeemed by the cross of Christ to live life loved and drenched in God’s grace.

Rest in the knowledge that if you are here, God’s mission for you is not done yet.

At the beginning of this year, I felt the Lord press me to learn how to rest better. How to lean on Him more, how to trust Him to meet me more in my everyday challenges and allow His power to flow.

So instead of saying, “what do I need to work on today?”,

I replaced it with “what do I need to rest in today?”

It completely changed my perspective and set my heart to rest in His love and work from that truth.

If God has asked you to do it, He will give you what you need to get through it.

What do you need to rest in today?

Gentle

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“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Why do I need the reminder to “let my gentleness be evident”? I don’t know about you but when I stress, I try to control things. I work to make things to the way I think it should be. When I feel that I am in a battle, I push everyone out, put up my walls and am prepared to fight.

When I am stressed, gentle is the last thing that I am to those around me.

The original Greek word used for gentleness in the verse above describes the heart of someone who will let God fight his battles for Him. It describes a person who has let go of trying to control the situation and allowed God to do what He needs to.

This is where having a relationship with Jesus changes things. It’s where trusting Him impacts how you live because He will never ask you to be something that He isn’t already.

Jesus IS near. 

Jesus says that He is so close that it’s like you’re yoked up with Him. Shoulder to shoulder, walking the same way, with Him bearing the load and directing the path.

He IS gentle. 

Jesus showed us what this kind of gentleness looks like. He focused on His relationship with His Father and only did what God directed Him to. He did not bend to peer pressure, comparison or even try to fit in with anyone other than His Father. He didn’t try to control the situations or people. He focused on being faithful to the part He was given to do and allowed God to work out the rest. 

Jesus lived yoked and yielded long before He offered it to His disciples.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:29‬ ‭NIV‬‬

He leads gently so that you can live gently.

Gentle is not weak it is focused trust as well as a deep knowing of who you are and whose you are.

My friend, may you begin to learn to live in the power of leading a gentle life by being yoked and yielded to the gentle Savior today.

You Are

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“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
When you have trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior:
You are called.
You are loved.
You are cared for.
You don’t have to strive to take care of “number one” or stress to win the approval of others.
Jesus will walk with you, guide you and bring you back when you wander off.
Accept God’s invitation to live as a cherished child today.
Live loved right now.
Let Jesus take care of you.
May your relationship with Jesus be like the eye of a storm where the uncertainty of this season will swirl around you as the peace of God which passes all understanding guards your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
How are you living in the invitation of God?
How are you receiving His love?
Are you living like you are cared for or like you have to take care of yourself? 

It’s about Identity

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“Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God.”      Hebrews 11:10 MSG

When God called Abraham to leave his country, He was asking him to stop looking at what was behind him and look ahead to what is in front of him.

God is calling you to stop looking back at all the reasons why you can’t be who God has called you to be and keep your eyes on the reason why you can: Jesus.

Any and all reasons why you “can’t” were carried to the cross with Jesus. He took them, embraced them and destroyed them there. Mind you, this isn’t about being in denial about your issues, this is about being clear about your identity in Christ.

When God asked Abraham to leave his past behind, He changed his name,  He gave him a new identity. When God calls you to be His own, He gives you more than a fresh start, He gives you a new identity in Christ.

And He walks with you every day to help you work out your issues and work in your new identity.

It takes a while to see yourself as God sees you and apply it to your life. It is a lifelong journey that takes faith.

“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.”     Hebrews 11: 2 MSG

Faith in the Unseen

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“Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God.”      Hebrews 11:10 MSG

When God called Abraham to leave his country, He was calling Abraham to stop looking at what was behind him and look ahead to what is in front of him.

God is calling you to stop looking back at all the reasons why you can’t be who God has called you to be and keep your eyes on the reason why you can: Jesus.

Any and all reasons why you “can’t” were carried to the cross with Jesus. He took them, embraced them and destroyed them there. Mind you, this isn’t about being in denial about your issues, this is about being clear about your identity in Christ.

When God asked Abraham to leave his past behind, He changed his name,  He gave him a new identity. When God calls you to be His own, He gives you more than a fresh start, He gives you a new identity in Christ.

And He walks with you every day to help you work out your issues and work in your new identity.

It takes a while to see yourself as God sees you and apply it to your life. It is a lifelong journey that takes faith.

“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.”     Hebrews 11: 2 MSG

Grasping

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“A grasping person stirs up trouble, but trust in GOD brings a sense of well- being.”‭‭ Proverbs‬ ‭28:25‬ ‭MSG‬‬

It is exhausting to live your life grasping for security but not ever really holding on to it.

It can be triggered by envy, fear or sometimes a sense of personal failure. It is always triggered by focusing on “me, myself and I “.

It is based on the belief that you don’t have what you need or enough of what you need to be secure, so you keep grasping for it in relationships, personal accomplishments, financial security and so on.

The original Hebrew word used for “trust” in the verse above means “secure”.

You can live your life from a place of security instead of insecurity.

That security is found in the love of God.

Put down the worry and fear that is plaguing your life and lift your hands in worship.

Spend some time in the presence of Jesus. You will find more peace in worshipping God than you ever will by focusing on yourself and what you lack.

You do not need more of you (or a better you, a better relationship or more stuff) to be more secure- you need more of God.

You are His precious child. That doesn’t mean life’s journey will be easy, it means that He will supply you with what you need to live it.

You can stop trying to feel secure in who you are and embrace the reality of whose you are.

Your identity comes from Jesus, not your family or lack thereof, not from your accomplishments or shortcomings, not from your success or failures but from Him.

My prayer for you today is that you unfurl the grasping grip of insecurity and lift them up in worship to God. May you worship Him for who He is and be reminded whose you are.

Push Through

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“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God doesn’t want you to have a life that looks good. He wants you to have a life that is good.

That means facing the challenges, sticking it out thru the hard stuff to learn the hard lessons.

The hard lessons are the ones that give us the truths (and strength) to live a good life.

Your identity is in Christ, not a title, a position or job.

Your worth is who you are, not what you have (or don’t have).

You are loved completely, endlessly and for all eternity because you have been embraced by God.

You were made for more than just an easy life.

You have been made to live a God-ordained, Christ-centered, Holy Spirit powered good life.

Push through the hard stuff to get to the good stuff, to the peace that passes understanding and the faith that does not depend on circumstances.

I know it is hard.

With Jesus, you can do the hard stuff.