Your chance

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Your chance to shine will look different than you think it does.

It comes when you are grumpy and tired. It comes when you’ve spent your energy and are way done.

You can do pretty well with expected opportunities to shine. You can plan and prepare. Maybe even practice a bit in your mind and go through the situation a few times mentally.

But the very best time to shine your light is when there is no plan.

When it is inconvenient.

When people are demanding and immature.

When you are with people who have already spent the allotted amount of patience for them.

These are the moments Jesus shines through you.

“If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!”   Matthew 5:16 MSG

So shine bright, my friend, this dark world needs you to.

Grateful

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“Thank you! Everything in me says ‘Thank you!’ …Thank you for your love, thank you for your faithfulness; Most holy is your name, most holy is your Word.

The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength.” Psalm 138:1-3 MSG

‬‬The true secret of “living large” isn’t about outside income, it is about inside strength.

The strength that is accessed through spontaneous worship- the ability to see and recognize what God has given you and what He is doing.

The strength that comes from the truth of God’s Word impacting and changing your life.

The strength that comes from gratitude.

Gratitude that changes your perspective to see the abundance you have instead of focusing on what you lack. It opens your eyes to see the possibilities instead of the problems.

Where worry constricts your heart, thanks-giving worship expands it.

The moment you cry out to God in weakness, He meets you with His strength.

May you call out to Jesus and be filled with gratitude, worship and divine strength to be who He has created you to be today. 

Shine On

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Why are you here?

Not to collect more things.

Not to become an expert.

Not to be happy all the time.

Not to look good all the time.

Not to feel good all the time.

Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:14 ‭MSG‬‬

You are here to be a light.

A witness.

A glimpse of grace-living.

A glimpse of God living through you.

A breath of fresh love-laced air in the sin-stained world.

That is why you are here.

Don’t get so caught up in yourself or in the present circumstances that you miss your God-empowered purpose for today: SHINE.

My prayer for you is that you are so filled with the Light of Christ that it spills out of you in every way possible, to every person you meet, in every moment of darkness or discouragement or overwhelming circumstance, in spite of the current crisis, through the present obstacle. May the Light of His Love be uncontainable and contagious through you today.

Your Gifts

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“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
The gift that you are with your smile and words, your hands and heart, how you cook or clean, create or organize, how you lead and follow, bless and pray is meant to be given, not hidden.
God has given you gifts. 
All kinds. 
Some come as talent.
Others are revealed in character. 
Some are gifts to you as well as through you that bring such joy that you can’t wait to share them.
Some are so close to your heart that you are afraid to reveal them. 
But gifts are made for giving.
Salt is made for seasoning.
Light is made for lighting. 
Gifts are made for giving.
The more precious they are to you, the more powerful they will be for others.
The gifts you have been given are to be given away: to serve, to love, to mend, to tend, to bless, to build. 

Take Every Chance

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“I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise. I live and breathe GOD; if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy: Join me in spreading the news; together let’s get the word out. GOD met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭34:1-4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

You will have lots of opportunities today to worry, to second guess and be anxious.

You will also have lots of opportunities to bless God, breathe in his presence and receive his joy.

They are the same opportunities, it is what you do with them that makes the difference.

Take a deep breath, expand your lungs and your faith.

Take every opportunity you get to worry today and turn it to worship.

Turn every chance you get to stress today and turn it into a moment to trust.

God will meet you more than halfway and will use every chance you give Him to free you from your fears.

The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Take every chance, drop every fear and let the Lord be your stronghold today.

Pray

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Prayer is what makes a difference in you so that God can make a difference thru you.

When you pray for others, you will begin to see them from God’s perspective, no matter who they are.

God has placed you where you are,
for however long, to make an eternal impact.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.”

Ephesians‬ ‭5‬:‭8-10‬ NIV

You don’t have to know how God will use you, you just have to know why: to love.

Pray for those God has put around you and love them.

Live as a child of the Light where you are.

Put yourself in God’s Hands and let Him take care of the rest.

The Battle

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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?

Chosen

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There are other moments of rejection that give you soul scars. Moments that become memories that hide in the silence and shadows of your heart. They feed into the fears of “not worthy” and enable the core insecurities of “not enough”.

God’s Word brings light to the shadows and His voice to the silent places in your heart.

Jesus came to bring to completion the Word spoken in Isaiah:

“For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:9,10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Jesus came to complete it,
to reclaim you,
to reconcile you to God,
has chosen you,
pursued you,
paid for you,
cherishes you,
will not abandon you.

Whispers of rejection will remind you of past rejections. They will taint every relationship and interaction you have.

You fear rejection but Jesus came to empty that word of its crippling power.

He is the God who says to you:

I have chosen you and have not rejected you.”(NIV‬‬)

I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you. Don’t panic. I’m with you. ‭‭‬ ‭(MSG‬‬)

‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not, for I am with you;” (‭NKJV‬‬)

Jesus will whisper this truth to you every day, in every way He can until you will believe it, embrace it and live in it.

YOU ARE HIS.
YOU ARE CHOSEN.

Sorry for yelling at you but you haven’t been listening.

Listen and believe.

Reread if necessary.

How You See

Perspective is powerful.
Perspective impacts everything:
Your attitude.
Your thought life.
How you see others.
How you see yourself.
Jesus talked a lot about seeing your life from God’s perspective.
He said,
“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:22-23‬ ‭MSG‬‬
When you live your life from heaven’s perspective and look to Jesus for help to do it, you can be filled with hope, vision, and fulfillment.
When you live your life from earth’s viewpoint and look to those around you to help, you can be filled with depression, disappointment, and dissatisfaction.
Jesus is the light of the world and it is his desire to fill your spirit, soul, and body with the uncontainable light of his love. 
That is why he came to earth as a babe. This is why we celebrate Christmas – to not just remember it but to experience it every day. To experience life with him every day.
What perspective are you viewing your life from?
How do you need Jesus today? 
How can I pray for you?

Gifts to Give

Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! ”
1 Corinthians 12:7 MSG

Today is the Grasso’s traditional day to begin the Christmas Shopping mayhem. It is Black  Friday and it seems as if the gift-giving potential skyrockets to the stars with the amazing deals thrown at us from every source.  There is, of course, a budget, a plan and the execution of that plan lead by Bobby Grasso himself.

As the gift-buying season begins, I want to remind you that God has already given you precious gifts to give this year. Gifts unique to you and those gifts are meant to be given.

A great orchestra with a hundred different instruments playing together is great because each individual has grown in, practiced relentlessly and played their own instrument until it is an extension of themselves.

By using the gifts God has given you, the talents of your hands, the strengths of your personality, the driving passion of your heart, God uses you to reveal Himself to others.

It is not a prideful thing to use your gifts for the glory of God, it is a needed thing.

The world needs people who are connected to God, using their gifts so that God is revealed and those people can get connected to God. When people are connected to God they pass from death to life and from darkness to light.  With Him they begin to develop their gifts so that others can get connected to God and pass from death to life… you get the picture.

You may hide your gifts thinking they are not good enough. You may not grow in them because you think you are not good enough. But this isn’t about you, this is about God using your gifts to bring blessings to others through you.

In the midst of gift buying madness, may you not neglect the rich gifts God has given you and give them away freely with love, grace, and joy.

What gifts has God given you?

How are you going to use them to bless someone today?

Have you grown them, practiced them relentlessly and walked in them until they are an extension of who you are to the glory of God?

If not, begin doing it today.

If you have done it before and stopped, begin again today.