You Don’t Have To Pretend

“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”

Matthew 6:5-6 MSG

When you pray, you don’t have to pretend.

You don’t have to begin with what you “should” say before you get to what you need to say.

You don’t have to have the right words and sometimes you don’t need words at all.

Jesus said that you don’t have to perform for God to hear you – He hears you.

He said that you don’t need to pretend to be more “spiritual” or “religious” to be heard by Him.

Find a quiet, secluded place and just be real with God about what you are dealing with.

Be real with God and He will be real with you.

He loves you so much.

He sees your need.

He knows what’s in your heart.

The most important thing about prayer is that you do it and prayer is the most important thing that you can do today.

The Best Time To Pray

“From inside the fish, Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.”    Jonah 2:1 NIV

When is the best time to pray?

– when you are running from God.

– when you have been disobedient and rebellious.

– when you have done your own thing, your way and find yourself in the center of a devastating storm.

– when you realize that God is BIGGER than your fear and STRONGER than the storm.

– when you are in the very center of something that is far bigger than you and you have no power to get out of it.

– when you are ready to let go of your preconceived ideas of what God is calling you to and willing to serve wherever you are, with whatever God has given you, right now. 

When is the best time to pray?

NOW… whatever your “now” looks like.

Made For It

You have been made to love and be loved.

You are made to need it.

Not just any love – God’s love.

When we look to humans to give us what we need, we find they are just like us- flawed and doing the best they can. 

Their love is not meant to fill you or fulfill you, it may even fail you.

You are made to be loved by God, every minute of every day.

His unending, unchanging, un-quitting, transforming love. 

The love you need today is God’s love.

“God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.” 

1 John 4:16-17 NLV

How did Jesus live in this world?

He lived loved and secure in His relationship with God.

May you live as loved as you are. 

Just Forget It

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,” PHILIPPIANS‬ ‭3‬:‭13‬ NIV

Forget what is behind you.

Forget the mistakes that happened yesterday, the words of condemnation that haunt you, the plans that failed no matter how hard you tried and the way you used to live before you met Jesus.

Forget them. 

You have a Father who forgives you, a Savior to walk with you and a Helper to empower you to live as you were created to.

You are connected to the Almighty God through Jesus and loved passionately by Him.

Through the good times and bad times, the easy times and the hard times.

There will be hard times but you will not experience them alone.

You will be triggered to react the same ways you have in the past but press pause when the trigger hits and lean into your very present Lord.

When things get difficult, instead on focusing on all the things you are not, focus on all that God is.

God didn’t choose you because someday you would be perfect. 

He chose you because He loves you and He is more than enough for the both of you. 

Love God for who He is and let Him love you for who you are: His child, who He loves and is already proud of. 

Burden Bearer

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”PSALM‬ ‭68‬:‭19‬ NIV

Every day also brings old memories that linger, mistakes still bearing consequences, fears that refuse to die, emotional baggage that demands space and attention.

Every day brings new choices to make, new challenges to face, new fears to conquer, new burdens to bear.

God will bear your burdens every day. 

Old, new, heavy or light.

Everyday.

You may not know what burdens will be thrust upon you today but God does. 

He stands with open arms and strong shoulders to bear them for you.

What burden do you need God to bear today?

He is the God of Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13 NIV

As you look to the future today don’t look to the past to determine its possibilities.

Don’t look around to what is going on around you to determine how you feel about it. 

Look to the God of hope who surrounds you with His love.

Look to the God of love who has broken the power of sin on the cross.

Look to Jesus who will fill you with all joy and peace as you trust Him.

Regardless of what is going on around you, His love is for you.

Jesus died and rose again so that your hope would not lie in the power of man but in the power of God.

May you live in the fullness God’s presence and let His hope for your future fill you with courage to face it head on.

Dare to Trust

“When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do.”ROMANS‬ ‭4:17-18‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Dare to trust God wherever you are and in whatever you are facing. 

Even if you’re feeling hopeless.

Stay on the journey.

Though everything in Abraham’s life seemed to indicate otherwise, he chose to focus on the power of God and not on the impossibility of the promise God had given him.

I am sure that there were times that Abraham barely believed and struggled with massive doubt. I am sure that there were days that he was holding on to a thread of hope, he was human.

God will not take away your humanity or your emotions.

His plan is to work through both.

God has called you to trust Him, lean on Him and rely on Him as you walk the road before you. 

Stay on the road.

Keep going.

Walk forward with the confidence that you may not know where you are going, but God does. 

His promises come with His power. 

Power to base your faith on what God can do, not on what you can see.

Hold on, my friend, you may have only had a thread of hope but in Christ, that thread is stronger than what you face and will hold against that which you fear

The Wondrous Gift

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.”

Isaiah 9:9 KJV

Christmas is pausing to gaze upon the wondrous gift of Jesus Christ.

It is being struck by awe and by the glory of God in the manger.

It is taking time to step back from the business that it has become and embrace the miracle that it is.

The birth of Jesus is not a story to tell, it is the reality to live.

It is God’s message of redemption and hope for all, to all.

Jesus is God’s gift to us, His presence with us.

My friend, that which began in a manger continues in our hearts today. 

Christmas is not business, it is the most personal and intimate expression of the reality of God’s love for you that has ever been given.

Wrapped in His Embrace

“You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.”

Colossians 2:9–10 MSG

My prayer for you today is that you will bring the lies that haunt you to Jesus and allow yourself to be wrapped in the embrace of God’s grace.

I am praying that the brand of “broken and worthless” will be destroyed by the enormity of His love for you.

I am praying that today you would know you are valued not because you are good but because you are chosen by Jesus for a life of love.

I am praying that this minute you will know that you are forgiven not because you deserve it but because you ask for it.

I am praying that you will live cherished not because you love Him well, but because He loves you eternally.

What God Does

“Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” Ephesians. 5:2 Message Version

The Scripture above doesn’t say:
Mostly what God does is judge us.
Mostly what God does is condemn us.
Mostly what God does is punish us.
Mostly what God does is give up on us.

No, mostly what God does is love us

He holds nothing back but gives us more and more and more. He loves us whether we feel it or not. He loves us when we are doing good or not. Can’t earn it. Don’t deserve it, nonetheless…what God mostly does is love us.

It reminds me of a phrase from the book, The Shack by William P. Young: “The nature of love is that it is freely given and received freely. God loves the lost and saved the same. He loves, period.”

He loves, period. 

How will you live loved like this today?