“I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.”Jude 1:1 NLT
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28 NIV
The Greek word for “rest” in Matthew 11:28 means:
1) to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength
2) to give rest, refresh, to give one’s self rest, take rest
3) to keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation
It is an invitation from Jesus to stop your work and invest in rest.
Make time to stop producing, stop creating and simply breathe.
Take a minute or an hour to do something that fills your soul.
Close your eyes so you can really see what is going on inside of you.
Open your eyes to love the people who are around you.
It is not a one-time invitation, it is a spiritual investment for a lifestyle of trust.
Jesus is saying “come to me” whenever you need to rest and as often as you need to rest.
Are you soul tired today?
Come to Jesus, His arms are open for you.
“Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.” Matthew 8:24 NIV
Since living in Southern Florida for the past couple of years, I have a healthy respect for storms that come on quickly and are ferocious. Almost every morning in the summer, the fluffy white clouds that fill the blue expanse of the sky turn to churning dark thunderclouds by the afternoon. Some afternoon storms are gentle showers and over quickly. Often they rip the sky open with the crack of lightning, heart-pounding thunderclaps and vicious wind.
The verse above describes a storm on the Sea of Galilee that came on so suddenly and was so ferocious that seasoned fisherman (the disciples) feared for their lives.
And what was Jesus doing? He was sleeping. He was resting.
He didn’t get in the boat at the beginning of the voyage and quiet the winds and calm the waves before he fell asleep, Jesus rested right in the middle of it.
The storm did not disturb him.
How did Jesus rest in the midst of an unexpected storm?
Jesus knew before He got into the boat:
- That God, His Father determined His time on earth, not a storm- even the most ferocious of ones.
- Who and whose He was: the Son of God, on a mission from God, filled with the power of God.
- He knew that His mission was not over yet.
The best thing for you to do in a storm is to trust God and rest.
Rest in God’s sovereignty. He knows the moment you will cross into eternity. This storm will not be the end of your story and God does not have half a plan.
Rest in knowing who and whose you are: a cherished child of God, redeemed by the cross of Christ to live life loved and drenched in God’s grace.
Rest in the knowledge that if you are here, God’s mission for you is not done yet.
At the beginning of this year, I felt the Lord press me to learn how to rest better. How to lean on Him more, how to trust Him to meet me more in my everyday challenges and allow His power to flow.
So instead of saying, “what do I need to work on today?”,
I replaced it with “what do I need to rest in today?”
It completely changed my perspective and set my heart to rest in His love and work from that truth.
If God has asked you to do it, He will give you what you need to get through it.
What do you need to rest in today?
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 2:1 NIV
The grace of Jesus means that you are loved recklessly just as you are. It means that you already have God’s approval. It means that you are completely forgiven and free.
It means that you no longer have to walk a road chosen for you by sin and brokenness. The strong and stubborn grace that is in Jesus means that you are free to journey down a new road, an unknown road, the road made clear by the cross. A road that comes with the companion of a Savior who is all about restoring that which was lost and getting you where He originally meant for you to be.
The grace that is in Christ Jesus drove Him from heaven to walk on earth for the sake of love. It drove Him to restore, heal, reach out to the “down and outs” and anger the religious powers that be. It drove Him to become the perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice of a Holy God to restore precious sons and daughters who would have no hope of restoring themselves to a good, good Heavenly Father.
Get busy receiving God’s amazing love today. Give Jesus the condemnation that is bearing down on your head and let Him wrap His arms of compassion, dripping with grace, around your soul.
You may perceive weakness as a failure but God perceives it as reality. A reality that when acknowledged allows you to fully receive God’s strength. Jesus does not ask you to make your resolve stronger, He asks you to make your dependence on Him deeper.
How are you going to be strong in the grace of Christ Jesus today?
You don’t have to wait for the right conditions in your life or until you have more time or money.
You don’t have to wait until you are stronger or smarter or better behaved.
The grace God has given you has nothing to do with how strong or smart or well behaved you are but you have it nonetheless – it is yours.
Grace that allows you to change, grace that inspires you to become who God created you to be.
Grace gives you strength and wisdom.
“God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone! We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears.
He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.”
Titus 2:11-14 MSG
The same grace that saves you for all eternity transforms your life today.
Today, you can begin to live differently, think differently, love differently.
Not tomorrow, or later-when-everything-is-easier but today.
Don’t wait for one more second to live in the grace God sacrificed to give you.
“He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.”Romans 3:21-24 MSG
“Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God.” Hebrews 11:10 MSG
When God called Abraham to leave his country, He was calling Abraham to stop looking at what was behind him and look ahead to what is in front of him.
God is calling you to stop looking back at all the reasons why you can’t be who God has called you to be and keep your eyes on the reason why you can: Jesus.
Any and all reasons why you “can’t” were carried to the cross with Jesus. He took them, embraced them and destroyed them there. Mind you, this isn’t about being in denial about your issues, this is about being clear about your identity in Christ.
When God asked Abraham to leave his past behind, He changed his name, He gave him a new identity. When God calls you to be His own, He gives you more than a fresh start, He gives you a new identity in Christ.
And He walks with you every day to help you work out your issues and work in your new identity.
It takes a while to see yourself as God sees you and apply it to your life. It is a lifelong journey that takes faith.
“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” Hebrews 11: 2 MSG
“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”
Galatians 5:1 MSG
Don’t let the enemy deceive you into believing are still a slave to your flesh and subject to it’s every whim.
You are not a slave to your flesh, you are a child of God.
You are chosen, loved, provided for and empowered to live your life in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
You belong to Christ and you have permission to live like it.
What is keeping you in bondage?
What does freedom from that look like today?
Nothing is stronger than God’s love for you.
You are loved.
You are loved every day of your life and will be loved every day until your death and then beyond into eternity.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 NIV
You Are Loved.
Because of the cross, nothing can separate from the love of your Heavenly Father and therefore nothing should separate you from it.
All of these were taken and paid for by Jesus so that you can live in the glorious freedom of being a cherished child of God.
So that you can experience your life like a child who feels safe and secure: explore, enjoy and play.
You have nothing to fear and nothing to prove.
Beloved, live loved today.
Hem me in your love, O God.
“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”
Psalm 139:5-6 NIV
You may feel like you are on your own to deal with life.
That you are on your own to deal with stress.
On your own to make it happen, whatever “it” is, but you are not on your own, you are God’s beloved child.
His love goes before you and his grace follows behind you.
You are cherished and provided for, guided and anointed to walk confidently in God’s love.
God goes before you to make a way where there seems to be no way, He sets up divine appointments for you to walk in and he brings people across your path that need you.
He blesses you with what you need to do what He has called you to do.
His hand of blessing is on your head. He has hemmed you in His love.
That means in ALL that you do, big or small, his hand of blessing is on it- because his hand of blessing is on you.
My prayer for you is that you will begin to see yourself in the light of God’s passionate love for you:
He has chosen you.
Provided for you.
Goes before you.
Follows up after you.
God’s love is not like man’s love. He is not controlling you, He is surrounding you with Himself and there is more freedom in his presence than anywhere else in the world.
“For in him we live and move and have our being.”
Acts 17:28 NIV
In Jesus, you have permission to live fully in God’s grace and walk confidently with His hand of blessing on you.
You are beloved and surrounded by Him. Set your fear aside and walk confidently in His love today.