Real Love

Friday

God is interested in you being real and authentic today.

He does not expect you to be perfect, He sets you free to be real.

Jesus loves the real you.

Not the one you think you should be but the person you actually are.

“So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you”.  1 Peter 5:6,7 MSG

Let go of the image of who you think you need to be and embrace who you are today.

Jesus does.

What would happen if you let go of  your “image” and asked God to help you love yourself as you are, where you are with what you have? 

This Is For You

Friday

There came a man who walked the earth, spoke truth to all who would listen, healed broken bodies and restored broken souls to God. It was His love that breathed life into the first lungs of man and His word that drove the darkness and chaos back before that.

He came to the earth He created for one purpose: to perfect love. The word perfect here doesn’t mean flawless as much as it means complete. Completed completeness. This love that bled when the lash tore open His back and wood of the cross dug into it, persevered through the unendurable physical and spiritual pain of the cross until He could utter the truth, “it is finished”.

This love has been made completely complete. The debt of sin has been paid and the great chasm between God and man has been crossed.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18 NIV

When fear rises up to dismantle my faith or weave it’s tentacles around my feet to trip me up, I must remember this fact: I have nothing to fear.

Christ took my punishment completely so that I could let His love complete me.

Are you letting His love complete you?

Are you letting His love in?

Today, Jesus is holding out His love to you and asking you to take it, make it yours and start living in the expansive truth of it today.

Take it.

This is for you.

Heavenly Peace

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As you count down the days to Christmas, take a minute to focus on what is important and in the craziness continue to refocus on your Creator.
It is His love you are celebrating.
This miraculous gift of the Son, this unquenchable love of the Father, this daily guide of the Spirit.
“for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Instead of replaying past moments or creating perfect scenarios in your head of the near future, let it be what it will be. 
Enjoy the imperfections of this day and those to come.
Know that everything “being perfect” will not create the feeling of fulfillment you are looking for.
You are looking for love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness…. and these are fruits of the Spirit (not fruits of the season). 
May you be filled with the Heavenly Peace of God’s Spirit as you walk among the complicated chaos of the humans around you.

Be Honest

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You know you are in trouble when you are only giving lip service.
When you smile with your mouth but not your eyes.
When you begin to say the words but there are no feelings attached anymore.
That which begins as a great love story ends with years of apathy hidden by duty, commitment and stalwart phrases of those good old days.
We assume that this means that it is over.
The hope of lasting love slips into the daily drudgery of life.
And yet….
It is not over.
The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.”
Isaiah 29:13 NIV
In a relationship, lip service does no one any good. Not in your relationship with Jesus, yourself or anyone else.
It is better, to be honest with what is going on in your heart.
That is the only way any relationship thrives.
Jesus came for your heart and that is where love grows.
Bring Him your heart today.
Let Jesus restore to you that which you thought was lost.
Give it another try.

Image Management

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The world likes a tidy image to categorize us in but God has no such desire.

In fact, He is more interested in authenticity vs. image and reality vs. the picture in your head of who you think you are supposed to be.

Jesus does not expect you to create a perfect picture of a good life. Instead, He invites you to live your real life with Him involved in it every day.

“So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you”.  1 Peter 5:6,7 MSG

Let go of the image of who you think you need to be and embrace who you are.

God does.

Start enjoying the reality of your life instead of being discontent that it doesn’t fit the image of what you think it should look like.

In fact, the more you let go of that image, the more you are able to thrive in the life God has given you. Stop spending all your energy trying to shine it up and make your life look perfect, instead simply enjoy who you are and what you have – no image management needed.

Are you miserable because you are trying to live up to an unauthentic image?

What would happen if you let go of it and asked God to help you love who you are, where you are and what you have?

The Imperfect Now

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“Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭AMPC‬‬
God will often change your perspective long before He will change your circumstances.
If you wait until your life is perfect to be joyful, you’ll be waiting until you get to heaven.

When is it the right time to be grateful?

Right now.
When is it the right time to shift your focus from what God should be doing “out there” to what God wants to do “in here” (points to self)?
This minute.
Don’t wait one more second.
Be thankful in the imperfect now.
Be thankful for the imperfect you.
Jesus is.
He loves you as you are today and He will work with you to grow you into who He created you to be.
Jesus is using your imperfect life and imperfect self to do a beautiful perfect redeeming work in you.
Let Him.
May you let go of all you can’t control today and give yourself permission to enjoy the imperfect now, embrace your imperfect story and lift your soul up to your perfect, loving, amazing, forgiving, life-giving God.

Be Present

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God has called you to live your life not perform it.

Your life is not about you being perfect, it is about letting Jesus work in you as you are fully present in your real life.

He created you to be alive and active, to get tired, frustrated, give, take, learn, fail and grow.

Your real life is filled with broken people, challenging circumstances and difficult decisions. It’s different than you thought it would be and guess what,  Jesus is doing a new beautiful thing in you right in the middle of all it.

Jesus does not ask you to deny reality, He asks you to embrace it as He embraces you.

Because in the middle of all of it, Jesus is doing a new beautiful thing in the middle of you.

 “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.”

1 Peter 4: 12-13 MSG

May you be free from the narrative of  “perfect” to live fully in God’s present work in you and be empowered to face the reality of  your life as you walk in His unique, personal, powerful expression of grace and purpose today.

The Imperfect Now

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“Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭AMPC‬‬
I was talking to a friend of mine and asking her how she was doing.  She said, “Better, because I’ve stopped asking God to change others or to change the circumstances and have started to ask God to change me. And it’s the first time I’ve had peace this year. He is changing me and I am so thankful.”
If you wait until your life is perfect to be thankful, you’ll be waiting until you get to heaven.

When is it the right time to be thankful?

Right now.
When is it the right time to shift your focus from what God should be doing “out there” to what God wants to do “in here” (points to self)?
This minute.
Don’t wait one more second.
Be thankful in the imperfect now.
Be thankful for the imperfect you.
Jesus is.
He loves you as you are today and He will work with you to grow you into who He created you to be.
Jesus is using your imperfect life and imperfect self to do a beautiful perfect redeeming work in you.
Let Him.
May you let go of all you can’t control today and give yourself permission to enjoy the imperfect now, embrace your imperfect story and lift your soul up to your perfect, loving, amazing, forgiving, life-giving God.

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. 

When to be Thankful

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If you wait until your life is perfect to be thankful, you’ll be waiting until you get to heaven.
Don’t wait.
Embrace the imperfect now.
Enjoy the imperfect you.
God has no plan to make your life perfect but He will use your imperfect life to perfect His work in you.
“Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭AMPC‬‬
I was talking to a friend of mine and asking her how she was doing.  She said, “Better, because I’ve stopped asking God to change others or to change the circumstances and have started to ask God to change me. And it’s the first time I’ve had peace this year. He is changing me and I am so thankful.”
When is it the right time to be thankful?
Right now.
When is it the right time to shift your focus from what God should be doing “out there” to what God wants to do “in here” (points to self)?
This minute.
Don’t wait one more second.
Be thankful in the imperfect now.
Be thankful for the imperfect you.
Jesus is.
He loves you as you are today and he will work with you to grow you into who he created you to be.
Jesus is using your imperfect life and imperfect self to do a beautiful perfect redeeming work in you.
Let him.
May you let go of all you can’t control today and give yourself permission to enjoy the imperfect now, embrace your imperfect story and lift your soul up to your perfect, loving, amazing, forgiving, life giving God.