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? 

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.

Shine Your Light

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Opportunities to shine your light may look different than you think they do.

They come when you are grumpy and tired. They come when you’ve spent your energy and are done.

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

But the very best opportunities to shine are not in your plans. They are inconvenient. They come with people who are demanding and immature. They come from people who have already spent the allotted amount of patience you have for them.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I know that the word humble can be a hard one to grasp but it has nothing to do with being humiliated.

Being humble is a security of self that is forged by your salvation. It is knowing who you are in Christ as well as knowing who Christ is in you: He is Savior, forgiver, redeemer, creator, all-powerful God. He is your guide, your strength, your hope and your peace. He is the great I AM and is unlimited in power and reach. He is the light of the world.

Being humble means that you can be happy and content when you are not in control.

Being gentle means that you have unclinched your hands from steering the direction of your life and have let Jesus take the wheel.

Being patient means bearing with those who don’t deserve your patience and loving people who are not easy to love.

This is not about the big things but the little ones: the unexpected phone calls, the interruptions that add to or postpone your to-do list, the change of plans because some people are unorganized.

These are the moments when being humble matters the most.

There are the moments when being gentle makes all the difference.

These are the moments when others will recognize that the patience you are extending to them is not natural but given to you by God.

These are the moments Jesus shines through you.

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

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.

Centered

Worry is a joy stealer and if worry is stealing your joy, you can bet it is also stealing your ability to love as well.

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.

Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.

It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Put your worries in God’s capable hands and get busy loving the people He has placed in your life.

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.