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? 

Forget It.

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The longer you walk with God, the more you realize how much you need Him.

How much you can’t do it by yourself.

How much you still have to learn.

The first time I heard this was just months after I began walking with God. My college pastor described it like how it is when you are walking towards a bright light- the closer you get, the more you see your own flaws.

It was good for me to hear early on in my walk with God that I would never get to a point of “being an expert ” or “being perfect”.

It was good to know that the closer I get to God, the more I will see my imperfections and know more intimately my own flaws.
Your life with God is a journey. 

It isn’t a skill to excel in, it is a relationship to have. Through the good times and bad times, the easy times and the hard times. Through ALL the times.

“Brother and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,” Philippians‬ ‭3‬:‭13‬ NIV

Why does Paul say “forgetting what is behind”?

I think because we tend to focus on all the things we are not, all the things we haven’t conquered, all the things we haven’t grown in.

All those things take your focus from God and put it on yourself.

So, forget it. 

Forget it all.
God didn’t choose you because someday you would be perfect. He chose you because He loves you and He is perfect enough for the both of you. 

Forget what is behind you even if it happened five minutes ago.

Love God for who He is and let Him love you for who you are- His child. 

Don’t Go It Alone

Dont-Go-It-Alone
You are not created to exist alone.
Introvert or extrovert- you are created in Christ to be in healthy relationships.
First with God, then with those around you.
Love God, Love People (in that order).
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had,”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Relationships are not easy and they are endlessly complicated.
They take grace, forgiveness, honesty, and courage.
You may think that it would be easier and simpler to withdraw altogether but God created you to be connected.
Don’t cheat yourself or others by withdrawing in fear.
Persevere.
Quiet the fear-filled beat of your heart and listen for the encouraging whisper of the Holy Spirit.
God can make a way where there seems to be no way.
Be brave and reach out today.

Priority

Did you know that when the word “priority” was introduced and used in English that is was not plural? It was was only singular as in “what is your top priority or your priority for today?

Over time, it became plural as now we have five top priorities rather than one. Our culture is now more about trying to figure what is the top priority out of the five top things that must be done today.

I vote that we make priority singular again, especially now as we are waist deep in the holiday season.

I don’t know about you, but it is so easy for me to fall prey to “just surviving” and then being sucked into everyone else’s crisis of the moment and it ramps up even more during this season.

Along with the sweet memories being made during the holidays comes the stress of added parties, stretched finances, being exhausted and days that fly by in the blink of an eye.

It is so easy to forget that if you are empty, you will have nothing to give others. Before you make your to-do list today put time with God in the number one spot.

Make your relationship with God your first and only priority. Spend some time with your Dad. Let Him love you.

“Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”

Matthew 6:30-33 MSG

Today, may your soul be filled with His presence and may your heart be overflowing with His love.

Spend some time just being His kid and you will be pleasantly surprised by how that changes everything.

Happy Monday!

Us

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“Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭5:31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“One who has been touched by grace will no longer look on those who stray as “those evil people” or “those poor people who need our help.” Nor must we search for signs of “love-worthiness.” Grace teaches us that God loves because of who God is, not because of who we are.”

– Phillip Yancey

There is no such thing as “us” and “them” in the kingdom of God.

There is just us.

We are all in need of the grace and mercy of Godeveryday.

Love God, Love people.

In Need of Grace

“Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭5:31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“One who has been touched by grace will no longer look on those who stray as “those evil people” or “those poor people who need our help.” Nor must we search for signs of “loveworthiness.” Grace teaches us that God loves because of who God is, not because of who we are.”

– Phillip Yancey

There is no such thing as “us” and “them” in the kingdom of God. There is just us. We are all in need of the grace and mercy of Godeveryday.

Love God, Love people.

One Thing

  
In our multit-asking mounting pressure culture to juggle your life AND plan the your future well, there is a prayer whispered from the heart of a king that reveals to us the secret of the One Thing.

The former bear wrestler, lion chaser, singing sheep keeper that faced the giant and beheaded him. This king who was the warrior worshipper prayed for this:

“I’m asking GOD for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. 

I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet. 

That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:4-5‬ ‭MSG‬‬

It is the secret that David shouted out and the source that fueled his life. He knew that ONE THING was needed above all others : to live WITH God in His house every day. To enjoy Him, learn from Him and have a safe house to escape to when the world goes nuts. David lived in the palace but longed for the Temple. 

The ONE THING thing David longed for is the very thing Jesus experienced and prayed:

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. 

May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

‭‭John‬ ‭17:20-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus prayed for you to experience this ONE THING everyday, wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Above all else, before you take up whatever you must juggle, to enjoy God. 

Enjoy God everyday, wherever you are and whatever you are doing. 

May your day be filled first with this one thing and may all the rest of life be impacted by it.