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? 

Prayer is Precious

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Another precious thing we all have access to during this time is the invitation to pray.
Prayer that is undefined, unpracticed and unscripted.
Honest prayers, fearful prayers, desperate prayers, prayers too deep for words.
All kinds of prayers from all kinds of people in all kinds of situations.

“You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”

Psalm 10:17 NIV

You need to know that there is Someone who will hear you, listen to you, sit with you and encourage you. To give you wisdom and guidance. To remind you that you are cherished and loved. Someone who promised to never leave you without support (Hebrews 13:5).

Because of Jesus, you have access to a Father who loves you and listens to you. He knows what is happening, what will happen and what you will need to get through it.

He is available today to hear you out, listen to you, sit with you and encourage you. To give you wisdom and guidance. To remind you that you are cherished and loved today regardless of where you are and what you are facing.

We often look to the outcome of circumstances as proof that God is real and loves us. The proof was provided at the cross. There Jesus unlocked access for all who want it into the presence of the eternal God.

Whatever you are facing today, you are not alone and you can pray.

Pour out your heart to God.

 

The Storm of Uncertainty

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

Right now the world is in a storm of uncertainty as we all do our part, whatever that is, to deal with the reality of Coronavirus impacting our lives.

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

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 three things:

  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 as long as you are here, God’s mission for you is not done yet.

I know it is stormy where you are but I want you to know that God is there with you and He will get you through whatever happens.

Before You Face the World Today

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“Father, Reveal who you are today.”
Matthew 11:2 MSG

How you see God impacts how you pray.

Understanding who God really is impacts how you talk to Him. Talking with a good, good Father is very different from talking to a distant divine judge (which is how I used to see God).

Jesus said God is your Father who loves you and to ask Him to reveal Himself to you.

The most life-transforming moments happen when God reveals who He is to you. The moments that you realize that He is proud of you, loves you with an unwavering constancy and is yearning to spend time with you.

This is just the tip of the iceberg – a lifetime of loving Him will barely scratch the surface of His love.

Jesus said to ask God to reveal Himself to you today.

You don’t need a lot of words.

You don’t need a lot of time.

You only need to ask and be open to receive it.

Then, be ready to be amazed.

That is it.

That is everything.

Before you get face to face with all that is happening in the world today, get face to face with your Father and let Him love you.

 

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?