Never Give Up

Love never gives up.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4 MSG‬‬

So much can be communicated through a small touch.

A reassuring pat of the hand.

A hug.

A gentle tug on the elbow of someone who you want closer.

Holding a hand.

A small touch can make a bad thing okay, an okay thing good, and make a good thing great.

Small touches are difference makers in a relationship and in our lives.

They can be the first thing we unconsciously give and the first thing that we unconsciously withhold.

When we struggle, when we are angry, when we are hurt, we withhold the small touches.

It’s easy to forget how important they are to us and to those we love until we can’t give them anymore.

For your loved ones in your home, hug them, hold them, touch them.

For your loved ones outside your home, save them up, and send virtual hugs until it is safe to embrace them.

Today is my virtual hug to you.

A Life Of Joy

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!   Philippians 4:4 NIV

Rejoicing is the theme of the book of Philippians, even though the circumstances with which it was written seems to hold no reason to rejoice.

The Apostle Paul is under house arrest in Rome waiting to go before Caesar. He is cut off from his friends and chained to a guard 24 hours a day. He is not comfortable and knows that he will probably be executed.

As Jesus’ followers, joy is not contingent on circumstances, it bursts through in spite of them.

Are you missing out on joy today because you are waiting for your circumstances to warrant it?

Don’t wait one second more, joy is a fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of your circumstances (Galatians 5:22).

Receive the gift, invite some friends over and throw a joy party!

What You Want

We all have habits that we need to get rid of. However, there is a particular habit that Jesus is more concerned about breaking than the one you are thinking of: it is the desire to get your own way.

“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

When we struggle, we may 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 the habit of the-only-way-I-will-be-happy-is-when-I-get-my-way.

God has more for you than that and He calls it freedom. 

Fan the Flame

“For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God,which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1:6-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In California, we had a fireplace in our little living room that we would use to warm the house during the few cold, damp winter months. I loved the warmth but what I really loved was the ambiance that it created. I loved how it looked but had a terrible time keeping it going. My husband was fabulous at it. I would watch him carefully build it, pay attention to it, poke at it, feed it and adjust it until it was a blazing fire warming the whole house. There were days when he would get the fire started for me in the morning and then leave. I would gaze into the flames for a few minutes and then get engrossed in writing. I would forget about the fire until I realized it was only a smoldering pile of half-burnt wood. It gave me an appreciation of what “fanning the flame” means.

When God gives you a gift, it comes as a spark. A small light with great potential but will not grow unless it is fed, prodded, poked and paid attention to.

Jesus gives your gifts to you.

He expects you to fan it into a fire.

God gives you the gift but you grow it.

How?

God knows that fear is the number one reason we don’t step out in faith and use the gifts He has given us, so He gives us something more powerful than fear: He gives us Himself.

His gives us His presence.

And with His presence comes:

  • Power
  • Love
  • Self Discipline

Don’t focus on your fear, my friend.

Focus on the wonderful Spirit of God within you to help you fan the flame of what has been given to you.

What has God sparked in you?

Are you growing it?

What is stopping you?

Find and Hold

Feeling lost is a terrible feeling. 

Years ago on our way out of Disneyland our youngest son, Kyle, was intently looking at his new stuffed animal and got lost in the surging crowd. One moment he was there and next he wasn’t. I immediately stopped, told my husband and began the search. We went back to the last spot we saw him and began calling his name. Within a few minutes, we found him. Kyle was shaken up. Big tears welled up in his eyes and he said, “I couldn’t see you, I couldn’t find you.” I gave him a big hug and I heard Bobby say, “You did the right thing- you stopped right where you were. We will always find you, always come back and get you.” Kyle stuck close to me for a while after that and didn’t let go of my hand. I wanted my child close and I didn’t let go of his hand either.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”    Luke 19:10

Jesus said that he came to seek and save the lost. 

He came for the ones that got distracted, swallowed up by the crowd and blinded by those around them. For the ones who panic and don’t know who or where they are.

Jesus came to:

Seek and save.

Find and hold.

Reclaim and restore.  

Many things can cause that terrible “I’m lost” feeling. It’s a scary feeling.

Stop wherever you are and let Jesus find you. He loves you and has crossed the boundary of heaven and earth to embrace you with His love.  Let Him guide you through the crushing crowd of fears and failures. He can see more than you can, is stronger than you are and knows how to direct you out of it.

Hold on and let Him hold onto you today.

First Thing

“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.”
‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭2:1-2 ‭MSG‬‬

Prayer doesn’t have to be eloquent to be powerful.

It doesn’t have to be lengthy to have consequence.

You don’t have to get the words right for God to hear you.

You just need to do it.

Pray.

Every way you know-how, for everyone you know.

It isn’t a test to pass or a class to take, it is prayer.

There is no wrong way to pray, just talk to God.

The power of prayer is that it connects you with a powerful God who loves you so much that He took care of all that hinders you from connecting to Him.

Through Jesus, you are connected to God.

All that you are and all that He is.

Be unhindered in prayer for others and honest in prayer for yourself.

Jesus has made clear the way to talk freely with the Holy One.

Let no excuse stop you from doing it today.

Drowning in Discouragement

Jesus stood on the shore alone.

He didn’t look for a boat or wait until He found one.

He just walked right into the storm and walked on the water.

Today, you may feel like you are facing a storm and looking at an impossible situation.

Good news: your Savior knows how to handle it. He knows how to do impossible things.

 Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.”

Matthew 14:25

When you are drowning in discouragement, get alone with God.  

Get to a quiet place so you can hear His words to you:

Before you face the day, get face to face with Me. I will bring you through it. I know the way.

Access Wonder

Have you accessed God’s power today?

Hebrews 12:28 reminds us that, “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshipping him with holy fear and awe.” 

When we are worshipping God and filling our hearts with gratitude, we are opening our hearts to be filled with the unshakable kingdom of God. 

A kingdom not of this world but one that heals it, changes it, transforms it. 

Worship fills us with the wonder of heaven and an awe for the one who left heaven to rescue a lost world. 

When we worship Jesus, He fills our hearts with His love and our lives with His power. 

My friend, may we be so full of heaven that it overflows into moments of awe in the mundane moments of our day and make them…heavenly.

Everything Else is Worthless

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him”.

Philippians‬ ‭3:8‬ ‭NLT

At the end of your life, you may or may not have human praise but if you have gone after a real relationship with Jesus, you will have so much more than that.

You will have rich relationships, miraculous moments, great faith adventures as well as the single most important thing you can have with you as you step into eternity – Jesus Himself.

Don’t waste your life by pursuing goals to make yourself more comfortable, more secure or safer.

Live the life you were created for by pursuing the one goal of knowing Jesus.

Not just to know about Him but to know Him in every area of your life.

Not just to work for Him but to work with Him.

Keep this goal as the top priority and all the other goals will quickly fall into their proper perspective.

In Need of Grace

There is no such thing as “us” and “them.”

There is just us.

Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭5:31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

One who has been touched by grace will no longer look on those who stray as “those evil people” or “those poor people who need our help.”  Nor must we search for signs of “love-worthiness.”  Grace teaches us that God loves because of who God is, not because of who we are.

– Phillip Yancey

We are all in need of the grace and mercy of God…everyday.

Give some to yourself today and give some to someone else too, I guarantee they need it.