Faith Full

I remember a time a few years ago when I was discouraged and heartbroken.

My hopes had been swept away by a flood of circumstances fueled by other people’s choices and actions. I chose integrity but no one else saw it that way. My character was questioned. My reputation was shredded and I could do nothing about it.

I could only walk forward into a future that I had not anticipated or imagined.

I clung to Jesus. I grabbed hold of the promise that He would never leave me or forsake me. I tried to trust that He could redeem the circumstances as I watched everything we had built crumble around us. I tried and failed. I couldn’t find trust or hope within my soul, only heartbreak and fear.

Psalm 119:116 became the words I held onto:

Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.”

One morning I got up early and took a walk. We were living in Las Vegas and my neighborhood edged the desert by the Red Rock. With worship music loaded on my iPod, I set out to pray and breathe in the presence of God.

As I turned the corner out of my neighborhood and onto the desert road behind it the song “Great is Thy Faithfulness” began. The sun was just rising over Red Rock Canyon and it was so beautiful that I almost dropped to my knees.  I heard God’s whisper in my heart, “Hold on. Your hopes are not lost. I am faithful to complete what I have started in you. I will sustain you through this and strengthen you in it. My faithfulness knows no end.”

It was a turning point for me. I carried that promise through a time that got harder long before it got better.

Hold on, my friend, your hopes are not lost. 

Jesus is faithful to complete what He started in you. 

He will sustain you and strengthen you in it. 

God’s faithfulness knows no end.

Your Promised Land

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Your promised land is right before you.

It is where you are, transformed by God’s transforming love:

It is your heart and mind transformed by God’s love.

It is your relationships transformed by God’s love.

It is your workplace transformed by God’s love.

It is your parenting transformed by God’s love.

It is you – transformed by God’s love and God using you to transform your surroundings.

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:15 NIV

Close your eyes, open the eyes of your heart and ask God to give you His vision for your life.

See with eyes of faith.

Taste the bounty you will cultivate.

Feel the joy of habitation.

Be filled to the brim with the love of God and then let it overflow to everyone around you.

Envy

Tuesday

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

Proverbs 14:30 NIV

Is envy sabotaging your joy?

Envy is a sneaky thief and the lie at the heart of all comparison.

It whispers with an incessant voice:

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

When you believe the whispers of envy, you are trading an abundant life for an abundant lie.

In Jesus, you are enough. He is not lacking in any area and He has made all God’s resources available to you. In Him, you are embraced, loved, cherished, equipped, empowered, and complete.

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

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

It is time to take hold of 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.

Time to Party

Wednesday

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 for such a sentiment.

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 does not know what the future will hold.

And that is the point.

As Jesus’ followers, our rejoicing 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!

Restoring Joy

Friday

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭51:12‬ ‭NIV

Today I am praying for the wind of restoration to sweep away the cobwebs of the fear and regret that are clinging to your soul.

I am praying for the worries and wonderings of “what if’s” be swept away because what is done is done and today is a new day.

Today is a new day to invite God in.

Today is a new day to embrace the hope you have in Jesus.

Today is your new day to walk in the power and purpose of God.

Put all your yesterdays and tomorrows into God’s hands – He is big enough to handle them. 

May you live fully filled up with God’s peace and have a willing spirit to fully engage in what God has given you to do today.

Wait For It.

Wednesday

But GOD’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. GOD takes the time to do everything right—everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:18‬ ‭MSG‬‬

You can’t see what God is doing “behind the scenes” in your life but I know He is working.

You don’t know how He is going to meet your needs, but I know that He will.

You don’t have to worry about the whys or hows. You can rest in the truth that He knows them.

God is not finished with your life. He has more for you.

Jesus took all that separates God from you so that you can receive all He has for you.

I am praying that today you will experience God’s matchless, unbroken companionship while you wait. While you wonder what is going to happen. While you worry about the unknown future.

I am praying that you will experience His victory, favor, love, peace, and joy, while you wait.

I believe that God is preparing things for you right now and that they will be right on time (maybe not your time but in His time).

While you wait, trust.

While you trust, worship.

While you worship, rest.

Have an amazing day enjoying what you have while you wait for what God is preparing for you. 

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? 

Stay Tender

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“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 a thick skin and a tender heart. 

God is There With You

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“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Psalm 139:7-10 NIV

No matter where you are – God is with you.

He is there in the light and joyous seasons as well as the heavy and dark ones.

He is there when everything falls apart and there when everything comes together.

He is there when everything suddenly changes and He will bring encouragement, strength, direction, and peace drawn from the unchangeable depths of grace that you will never be able to exhaust.

Wherever you are, God is with you today.

 

Rapturous Joy

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It’s Christmas Eve.

No matter what your day looks like or feels like today or tomorrow, I pray for you to have a moment of rapturous joy as a redeemed child of God.

The great orator of a century past says it so beautifully:

We esteem every day alike, but still, as the season suggests thoughts of Jesus, let us joyfully remember our dear Redeemer’s glorious birth.

Who but He was ever longed for by such a multitude of hearts?

When did angels indulge in midnight songs, or did God hang a new star in the sky?

To whose, cradle did rich and poor make so willing a pilgrimage, and offer such hearty and unsought oblations?

Well, may earth rejoice; well may all men cease their labor to celebrate “the great birthday” of Jesus.

Let gladness rule the hour; let the holy song and sweet heart music accompany our soul in the raptures of joy.

– Charles Spurgeon

Love, hugs and many blessings from the Grasso’s this Christmas!