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!

Walking It Out

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“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”     ‭‭

2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Walking is a pretty mundane activity.
It’s not as glamorous as running.
I’ve always wanted to be a runner but I am definitely not one.  I am simply a very good walker.
Walking is what you learn early by falling down a lot.
It is what gets you to the kitchen in the morning for your first cup of coffee.
It is basic and boring and taken for granted unless you can’t do it anymore.
Charles Spurgeon said,
“That man has not yet learned the true spirit of Christianity who is always saying, ‘I can preach a sermon by faith.’ Yes, sir, but can you make a coat by faith? ‘Can you cook dinner by faith?”.
The real work of life isn’t using your gifts by faith but living your life by it: Paying your bills, doing your job, cooking dinner, cleaning the toilet.
It is in these small necessary everyday things that God’s power is revealed not just in the great things but in the small ordinary ones. 
It is when God’s grace and power are evident in washing the dishes when you are tired and spent.
It is when you stop yourself from going all buck wild on the attitude you just received from your teenager.
It is when the holiday isn’t working out to be what you hoped for but you are able to roll with the punches and still enjoy the special moments that would otherwise be buried in resentment and disappointment.
When what you see does not dictate how you behave.
That is when faith leads your life instead of sight. 
It isn’t very exciting but it is totally life-giving.
Don’t worry about running your faith race today, just focus on walking it out faithfully.
Love you.
Today may you walk slowly, steadily and consistently in faith in who Jesus is, what He has done and in who He is re-creating you to be.

Why We Rejoice

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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 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.

We don’t rejoice because life is good, we rejoice because God is good.

We don’t rejoice only when good things happen because God works through all things.

We don’t wait to rejoice until we have all the answers, we rejoice in knowing that Jesus does.  He loves you and will be with you whatever comes.

Set your heart to rejoice in Jesus today: who He is, what He has done and that your eternal future is secured by His amazing sacrifice.

Your present circumstances are provided for by the strength of His grace no matter what they look like.

We like to rejoice when we get our way but sometimes the harder way is what we actually need to grow in.

Set your mind to delight in a security of the love of Jesus and the mercy of His grace.

Rejoicing when there is nothing to rejoice about is a divine gift that will transform you.

And if you ask Jesus to open your eyes to see what you have right now to rejoice in, He will.

Take the gift and throw a party.

Delight, Desires

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“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”‭‭

Psalm‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Which side of the comma are you living in?

Take delight in the Lord,

or

And he will give you the desires of your heart?

Delight, desires.

What you focus on determines how you experience Him.

When you are focusing your life on delighting (joy, great enjoyment, and pleasure) in the Lord, the world seems like a wide open space for you to experience with someone you love.

When you focus on the desires of your heart, the world seems a small closed space in which you can only see what you don’t have and experience and envy what everyone else seems to have.

I’ve learned that my desires are not good taskmasters but they do make great idols.  They also make flawed foundations for a relationship with God or anyone else.

I’m not saying that your desires are bad, in fact, I believe that the Lord puts loads of good desires in your heart: the desire to love and be loved, to connect and be connected to,  to cherish and to be cherished.  What I am saying is that if the focus of your life is getting your desires met that you will be miserable and probably not even know why.

Living on the delight side of the comma means that your focus is on your relationship with God and being delighted in Him, by Him and with Him and trusting Him with the rest.

There is sweet freedom found in delighting in your relationship with God while letting Him hold all your desires to do what He may. He is a good Father and knows you more than you know yourself.

How are you delighting yourself in the Lord?

What is making you miserable?

What side of the comma are you living on?

Awareness

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“But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:11 MSG‬‬

If you are aware of anything today – be aware of God.

If you are afraid of anything – be afraid of getting so busy making a living that you miss making a life.

If you have to make a do to list – put living in the joy of the Lord #1.

Take care of what you need to take care of today but make room for God to interrupt, intervene and weave His perspective into each thing you must do.

Are you so busy that you are oblivious to God?

What does being aware of God’s presence mean to you?

How can you make that happen?

May the awareness of God supersede all else as you are embraced by a Savior who loves you unconditionally and completely.