Find and Hold

Feeling lost is a terrible feeling. 

Years ago on our way out of Disneyland our youngest son, Kyle, was intently looking at his new stuffed animal and got lost in the surging crowd. One moment he was there and next he wasn’t. I immediately stopped, told my husband and began the search. We went back to the last spot we saw him and began calling his name. Within a few minutes, we found him. Kyle was shaken up. Big tears welled up in his eyes and he said, “I couldn’t see you, I couldn’t find you.” I gave him a big hug and I heard Bobby say, “You did the right thing- you stopped right where you were. We will always find you, always come back and get you.” Kyle stuck close to me for a while after that and didn’t let go of my hand. I wanted my child close and I didn’t let go of his hand either.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”    Luke 19:10

Jesus said that he came to seek and save the lost. 

He came for the ones that got distracted, swallowed up by the crowd and blinded by those around them. For the ones who panic and don’t know who or where they are.

Jesus came to:

Seek and save.

Find and hold.

Reclaim and restore.  

Many things can cause that terrible “I’m lost” feeling. It’s a scary feeling.

Stop wherever you are and let Jesus find you. He loves you and has crossed the boundary of heaven and earth to embrace you with His love.  Let Him guide you through the crushing crowd of fears and failures. He can see more than you can, is stronger than you are and knows how to direct you out of it.

Hold on and let Him hold onto you today.

Envy

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” 

Proverbs 14:30 (NIV)

Is envy sabotaging your joy?

Envy is a sneaky thief and the lie at the heart of all comparison.

It whispers with an incessant voice:

“you are not enough”,
“you don’t have enough”,
“you could be enough if only….”

When you believe the whispers of envy, you are trading an abundant life for an abundant lie.

In Jesus, you are enough. He is not lacking in any area and He has made all God’s resources available to you. In Him, you are embraced, loved, cherished, equipped, empowered, and complete. 

God’s plan for your life is not to be consumed by envy. 

Confess it, take it to the cross, leave it there.

It is time to take hold of the fullness of who you are in Christ and leave the emptiness of envy at the cross today.

Don’t waste another second on it.

Life and Peace

“For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:5-6‬ ‭NET‬‬

God has given us the ability to imagine and shape our thoughts – we call it our imagination.  He gave us the ability to imagine our day, our tomorrow, our future.

The imagination nourished by the Spirit of God is life and peace.

The imagination shaped by the flesh is fear and death.

The thing is, we get to choose.

My friend, today you have permission to take a mental vacation from fear and set your imagination free to dream some God-sized dreams.

Where is your head?

What is it filled with? 

What will you choose to think about today?

Finished

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John‬ ‭19‬:‭30‬ NIV

After the unfair trial.

After the man’s judgment.

After the sentence to death.

After the unbelievable physical pain.

After the unbearable separation from the Father.

After receiving horrific judgment and sin of the world upon Himself.

Before His final breath.

“It is finished.”

My sin paid for. 

My debt paid.

My forgiveness, offered.

My redemption, complete.

My relationship with God, possible.

Before you ever began, He finished it.

Proof of Love

All the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children”. 

Matthew 27:25 

After Gethsemane, Jesus was betrayed by Judas, abandoned by His disciples and denied by Peter.

Then He was brought before Herod to be judged. Herod sent Him to Pilot, but Pilot couldn’t find a reason for a death penalty.

It came down to the people and the people demanded that Jesus be crucified and the murderer, Barabas, be released to them.

Unfair, unjust, unreasonable are just three words that come to mind. He did nothing to deserve a penalty of death.

The crowd shouted: “His blood be on us and on our children.” 

He must have stood there marveling as He heard the crowd cry out for His death, knowing that He was going to bear their judgment physically, spiritually….literally.

Now their cry has become mine: “His blood be on us and on our children”,  not the blood of judgment but the blood of forgiveness.

While Jesus was on the cross, He drank deep from the cup of God’s fury against our sin so that you and I could drink deep of the cup of forgiveness. He took our judgment so we could be pardoned for all eternity.

Now their cry has become mine: “His blood be on us and on our children”,  not the blood of judgment but the blood of His amazing love and forgiveness.

If you don’t know how much Jesus loves you, look at the cross – the proof lies lifeless there.

Overwhelmed with Sorrow

“Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane…” 

Matthew 26:36

Jesus went to a garden on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives, the place olives were crushed.

With the scent of olive oil heavy in the air, Jesus prayed.

Not with pretty words but with a soul overwhelmed with sorrow.

He cried out to His Father until blood drops appeared on His forehead.

On the way to Easter, we must stop at Gethsemane.

This is the place of honesty and truth.

Jesus held back nothing, He never did.

Jesus went there and so can you.

At some point, we all need Gethsemane. A place to plead with God for help and courage. A place to hold back nothing.

My friend, you don’t have to “hold back” your sorrow or worry from God. In fact, He is the only One who is able to fully receive it.

Sorrow is a part of life and Gethsemane is a safe place to pour out our grief, our anger, our hurt, our fear. It is also there we find the unlimited depths of God’s love for us.

Today, your Father in heaven opens His arms to you. He is able to handle it all.  

Jesus asked God if salvation for mankind could be purchased any other way than through the cross – there wasn’t.

So He went there – for you and for me.

Nothing, not even overwhelming sorrow, can separate you from God’s love.

Find Rest Here

I want to remind you that you have a place of refuge in Christ.

He is like a fortress of strength to love from.

He is a tower of trust to give from.

Live from the truth of who Jesus is and what he has done for you on the cross.

You are restored and redeemed. 

You are accepted and forgiven. 

You are cherished and loved. 

When the strong sun of adversity beats down, rest in Shaddai’s shadow. Tuck yourself into His side and remind yourself whose you are.

“You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this:‘GOD, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!’ That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards.

His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:1-5 MSG‬‬

When fear screams the loudest, run to the refuge of the cross. Jesus died for you so that you could have this: an unhindered relationship with your Father in heaven who has strong arms and strong love. 

Fear nothing. 

Hide in Him. 

This is where you find rest.

Found in His Love

“A grasping person stirs up trouble, but trust in GOD brings a sense of well- being.”‭‭

Proverbs‬ ‭28:25‬ ‭MSG‬‬

The original Hebrew word used for “trust” in the verse above means “secure”. 

Security that is found in the love of God.

Spend some time in the presence of Jesus. You will find more peace in worshipping God than you ever will by focusing on yourself and what you lack.

You do not need more of you (or a better you, a better relationship or more stuff) to be more secure- you need more of God.

You are His precious child. That doesn’t mean life’s journey will be easy, it means that He will supply you with what you need to live it.

You can stop trying to feel secure in who you are and embrace the reality of “whose” you are.  Your identity comes from Jesus, not your family or lack thereof, not from your accomplishments or shortcomings, not from your success or failures but from Him.

My prayer for you today is that you unfurl the grasping grip of insecurity and lift them up in worship to God. May you worship Him for who He is and be reminded whose you are.

Dwell

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The word dwell invokes the picture of where you live.

Where you wake up in the morning, brush your teeth and get ready for your day.

It is the place where all your “stuff” is, no matter how much stuff you have.

It is the place at the end of the day that you surrender to sleep and recharge.

You are made to dwell in the shelter of God’s presence.

To wake to His love, live in His love, rest in His love.

Jesus made it possible so you could live this today and dwell in the shadow of the Almighty’s love everyday after.

In Your Darkest Moments

But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” 1 Timothy 1:16 NIV

If you are feeling like the worst of sinners right now, know that you are who Jesus came for.

Run to Him.

His arms are open.

He has more patience for you than you have for yourself.

This is not about being a perfect Christian, it is about letting Him love you when you feel like you are at your darkest.