With You

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God IS with you.

He is the creator of the universe and He is with you.

Present tense.

He does not reside in the past although He will heal it.

He does not jump ahead to the future unknowables and fear filled wonderings although He knows His will for it.

He is here with you.

Now.

Right where you are.

The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Selah

Psalms 46:11 NKJV

The “Selah” at the end of the Psalm is a word that means “pause and think about it”.

Take this moment, this one right here,  to pause whatever you are in the middle of and think about the reality that God IS with you.  He is the gift, the miracle and the privilege to be experienced every day. 

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

Philippians 4:4 NIV

May your day be filled with Selah, the awe, and wonder that God is with you and the desire to have a conversation with Him all day long.

Trust God Today

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Whatever today brings, I want to remind you to trust God in it.

Trust that He has your present provided for. Jesus will give you what you need when you need it to deal with what is happening right now.

Trust that He will heal your past. There is no sin stronger than the blood of Jesus and there is no hurt His love can’t heal.

Trust that He has your future in the palm of His hand. Jesus is preparing a place for you and preparing you for the place. Stressing about it helps no one. Rest in Him and wait.

Take a deep breath and fix your eyes on Jesus.

Trust Jesus.

Being Present in the Present.

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Stay on the path God has put you on.

Be present.

Stay focused on the main goal of this season.

Do what God has given you to do where you are.

Don’t worry about what others are doing or getting.

Don’t wonder where others are going or what others are giving.

Focus on what is important today.

Focus on why you are doing it.

“Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, ‘I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,’ we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?”  Hebrews 13:5-6 MSG

Jesus has promised to be with you and is ready to help you in every situation that presents itself to you.

Ask God for help and focus on being present in the present.  

It’s the Holidays

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As we head into Thanksgiving Week and then Christmas right after, I want to remind you that the holidays can be wonderful and terrible at the same time.
As much as they create opportunities for new memories, they also bring reminders of old ones. Moments of joy and thanksgiving are often mixed with sadness and loss.
Jesus allowed himself to feel emotions, all of them. He mourned. He loved. He was thankful. He knew that there was time for all of them and that they often overlap.
Jesus knew that there is:
“a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬
This year, give yourself permission to feel all the emotions this time brings. Walk with Jesus through them, acknowledge them, embrace them. Grieve if you need to.
When you take time to mourn, you make room in your heart.  Ungrieved losses of the past must be processed so that you can fully experience the moments of joy in the present.
Being a Christian doesn’t mean that you are always happy or only feel “good” emotions. It means that you choose to walk with Jesus through all the emotions that this time in your life brings.
Walking with Jesus during this time means you are more fully present in it than you have ever been before.
May you fully embrace and be fully embraced by Jesus as you experience this holiday season with Him by your side.

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.