At a Crossroads

“Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. GOD, your God, is with you every step you take.”
Joshua‬ ‭1‬:‭1-9‬ MSG

You may be at a crossroads today.

You may be tired and worn out.

Maybe a bit discouraged and overwhelmed.

You know that the task before you is too big for you to do on your own.

God knows this too.

He doesn’t intend for you to do it on your own or by yourself.

He intends for you to move forward with Him.

To face the impossible challenge with Him.

To take the promised land back from the enemy and learn to live in it with Him.

So when you  are at this crossroad wondering if you should keep going forward or if you even have the strength to, hear these words from your Father in heaven:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua‬ ‭1‬:‭9‬ NIV

Should you move forward?

Yes
.

Can you?


Yes
.

Why?


Because you can do all things through Him who strengthens you. 

Impossible

“Come”, he said.  Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Matthew‬ ‭14:28-29‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It’s impossible to walk on water.

It’s impossible to feed 5000 people with a small boy’s lunch.

It’s impossible to heal a man born blind.

Jesus did all this and more while inviting his disciples to join him.

Jesus will invite you to do the impossible without expecting you to do it in your own strength. He knows you can’t do it without him. He fully expects you to fully depend on him for it. 

Peter wanted to be where Jesus was, which happened to be on the water.

Peter helped Jesus feed over 5000 people by doing what Jesus told him to do: pass out bread and fish.

Neither miracle came from Peter’s faith but from Peter’s focus. He was focused on following Jesus, on being where Jesus was and ended up doing impossible things.

When you follow Jesus, you will end up doing impossible things because of who He is not because of who you are.

Whew, that is a relief.

You are invited to do the impossible with Jesus.

Instead of fixating on how impossible it is to walk in the freedom Jesus paid for you to live in, just admit to yourself that it IS IMPOSSIBLE in your own strength.

Without Jesus there is no way you can forgive your abuser, be set free from your past, be transformed by the renewing of your mind, be free from guilt and condemnation, walk away from a lifetime of lies and bondage and embrace the truth that you are a precious cherished child of God who is free to live every day in the lavish love of Jesus Christ.

Don’t focus on what is impossible.

Don’t even focus on your own faith.

Focus on following Jesus and following through on what He has asked you to do.

Today I am praying for you to receive all Jesus has for you, to boldly go with Him to places you have never been before. To experience new life, new love, new freedom, new hope and a new normal. 

In Jesus Name, Amen.

The Whole Point of This

“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 high jacks 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? 

You are His Masterpiece

img_3930_1024x1024-2

I know that today is April Fool’s Day but I want to tell you that God is not fooling around in your life. He is working on purpose for the purpose of making you a masterpiece.

I have a friend who is Master Craftsman and he made a beautiful table for us. I watched the process and saw how a simple piece of wood truly became a masterpiece.

It began with choosing the wood.

Then he cleaned it and prepared it to be formed into his vision.

Then it was set aside.

Then it was cut into the right shape and set aside.

Then it was pressed together and set aside.

When it was ready, it was sanded down and, you guessed it….. set aside.

While the table was being formed, he was also working on other parts he needed.  He formed the individual pieces of wood. Each part was chiseled down with great skill until it was a perfect size. Not too big, not too small as each one must be strong enough to stand under the great pressure of the final work.  He was preparing all the pieces to be put together as one and making sure they would fit together just perfectly.

When all the parts are ready, they are brought together. By force and pressure, they are joined by glue or secured into place by the hammer and nail.

Does the piece of art choose what it is formed into? No.

Does it choose when the work is finished? No.

Does it choose where it is placed? No.

Does it choose when it is used? No.

By the artist’s hand, it is created as a gift.

By the artist’s plan, it is given for use.

By the artist’s desire, it is used as needed.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”‭‭

Ephesians‬ ‭ 2:10 ‭NIV‬‬

My friend, you have been chosen and are being crafted into God’s masterpiece. You do not choose what your purpose is, where you are placed or how He uses you. You are His and He is working in you so that your life will be a gift and used for His glory. He has a purpose for you and it is His work that prepares you for it.

Rest in the process. Don’t try to hurry or skip a step. It is vitally important that you trust Him when you feel set aside, or under great pressure.

May you rest in His grace wherever you are in the process. May your focus be on your relationship with Jesus and let Him focus on growing you. Obey Him, trust Him and glory in His love.

You are amazing.

You have been chosen.

You are His Masterpiece in process.

Grave Clothes

img_7103-1-2

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

John‬ ‭11‬:‭43-44‬ NIV

Lazarus was dead. His body wrapped tightly in grave clothes and laid to rest. The world had already moved on, the end of the story already written. It was over.

But the story was not over for God.

Just when Mary and Martha thought that it was too late, Jesus came and did the most unexpected thing: He raised Lazarus from the dead. He had someone roll away the stone and then called him out.

In one of the most remarkable passages of Scripture, Jesus speaks to death and it is defied. It is powerless before the commanding Word of the Son of God.

You may think that your story has already been written.

That it is over.

That where you are right now is where you will always be.

That your usefulness, your marriage, your ministry, your job, your purpose, your hopes lay dead and lifeless at your feet.

Jesus still defies death. You may think the story is over but God doesn’t.

He will call life from death and unbind the grave clothes that cling.

He will call your name, remind you who you are and whose you are.

He will change the ending. 

He will resurrect relationships, restore callings, redefine life as you know it and move you into the light.

The story of Lazarus is more than an example of a miracle, it is a proclamation of the power of Jesus to raise the dead things in us and a reminder to us today that all death means nothing in the light of His love.

When fear rises up to tell you that your story is already over, begin to loudly proclaim that in Christ your story has only just begun.

A Seed

dandelion-quotes-and-sayings-4-2

We try to hold it all together and hold on to our lives so fiercely when the very best thing is to let it go.

Let it change.

Let God have it all to do with as He wants.

We try to avoid situations that crush us but God will use those very things to unlock the amazing potential that He has put there.

He will use it to loosen our grip on this life and show us that there is so much more to life than we can imagine.

Seeds are made to be planted, crushed, broken and nourished to grow.

So are we.

“I tell you the truth unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.

Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.”

‭‭John‬ ‭12:24-25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

A seed is a small packet of untapped life that will stay small with unknown potential until it is buried in the dark earth, crushed by the weight and broken open. Only then does the life within it break free to grow into what it was originally intended to become.

It goes against what we think of Christianity until you look at the cross.

Until you look at the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. His glory wrapped in flesh, his body broken and crushed by our sin, three days in the dark grave only to rise and change the course of history. To redeem humanity. To rescue the drowning and restore fallen mankind to God.

In our attempt to hold onto “our” lives, we may miss the great blessing of them. We may rob others of the impact Christ can have through us because we want to live our life, our way:  safe, secure, planned, ordered.

But the moment we give our lives to Christ and He becomes Lord, it changes. It is no longer our life but His. No longer our ways but His. Not safe, not secure, not planned but we are planted, crushed and broken. Then nourished to break through and become all Jesus has made us for.

This thing that is crushing you just may be God’s way of planting you right smack dab in the middle of His plan for your life.

Let go of your plans and hold fiercely to His love.

The very best is yet to come.

Have an amazing Monday my friend.

You Are in a Battle.

quote-the-gospel-is-the-good-news-that-the-everlasting-and-ever-increasing-joy-of-the-never-john-piper-131-85-35

The battle is not to be good, or look good or feel good.

The battle is not achieving a version of life that you have imagined, been told or been sold.

There is a war that is waging and it is more than just between you and your expectations.

The battle is for souls: lost souls, happy souls, good looking souls, sad souls. Unredeemed souls that the enemy would like to keep unredeemed at all costs.

Unredeemed souls that have already been paid for by the great cost of Christ’s on the cross, they just don’t know it yet.

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. ”
2 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭4‬ NIV

For those who are redeemed, the battle is set to destroy your light, bit by bit, by turning the focus from God to what you don’t have, what you used to have or what you wished you had.

In other words, to keep the focus all on yourself so you will be rendered useless and powerless as a warrior of the light.

“For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”   ‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭5‬ NIV

When was the last time you talked to someone about what God was doing in your life instead of what you are doing (or not doing) in it?

The battle is fierce. When you recognize what the real battle is- you are able to really engage in it, instead of being a victim of it. God did not redeem you to be a victim.

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”  ‭               2 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭6‬ NIV

He created you to be an image bearer, He redeemed you to be light revealer,
He has empowered you to be a cross-carrier and gospel bringer.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”   ‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭7‬ NIV

How will you reveal God’s all-surpassing power in your life today?