Gentle

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“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Why do I need the reminder to “let my gentleness be evident”? I don’t know about you but when I stress, I try to control things. I work to make things to the way I think it should be. When I feel that I am in a battle, I push everyone out, put up my walls and am prepared to fight.

When I am stressed, gentle is the last thing that I am to those around me.

The original Greek word used for gentleness in the verse above describes the heart of someone who will let God fight his battles for Him. It describes a person who has let go of trying to control the situation and allowed God to do what He needs to.

This is where having a relationship with Jesus changes things. It’s where trusting Him impacts how you live because He will never ask you to be something that He isn’t already.

Jesus IS near. 

Jesus says that He is so close that it’s like you’re yoked up with Him. Shoulder to shoulder, walking the same way, with Him bearing the load and directing the path.

He IS gentle. 

Jesus showed us what this kind of gentleness looks like. He focused on His relationship with His Father and only did what God directed Him to. He did not bend to peer pressure, comparison or even try to fit in with anyone other than His Father. He didn’t try to control the situations or people. He focused on being faithful to the part He was given to do and allowed God to work out the rest. 

Jesus lived yoked and yielded long before He offered it to His disciples.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:29‬ ‭NIV‬‬

He leads gently so that you can live gently.

Gentle is not weak it is focused trust as well as a deep knowing of who you are and whose you are.

My friend, may you begin to learn to live in the power of leading a gentle life by being yoked and yielded to the gentle Savior today.

Your Way

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“Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.”
Psalm 37:5  NKJV
Commit your way. 
Commit your path, your direction, your next step to God.
To commit is an action, not a choice.
When I commit to a diet, I’m making a decision (That I usually change when a piece of cake presents itself).
When I mail a letter, I’m taking action. I’m letting go. I’m trusting that the postman or woman will get it to where it needs to go.
You can’t mail a letter if you hold on to the edge of it.
To commit your way to the Lord is the same thing – you need to give your way to Him. You are putting the direction, the journey, the destination into His care. The word for commit here means to “roll away”. 
To the Lord.
Give your future to God.
Let God have it.
Pry your fingers off the fears you have for your future and give it to Jesus.
Lay down the cherished dreams of a perfect life and roll those over to Jesus as well. Your expectation of a perfect life without pain or heartache is not reality and doesn’t help you deal with it. Those expectations actually trip you up more than your fears do.
Let go.
Trust Jesus. 
Focus on your relationship with Jesus and let Jesus focus on your future.
And He shall bring it to pass.
The phrase in English “He shall bring it to pass” is actually just one word in Hebrew,      “asa”.  It means He shall assemble, accomplish, create, produce it. He shall attend to it, bring it about and ordain it. He will bring it to pass.
“And then finally, when you’ve gotten to the place where you can commit your life and the affairs of your life into God’s hands, then you have arrived at the place of that glorious resting in the Lord. ‘God, I’m just resting in You. Whatever comes, Lord. However. It’s in Your hands.”’
Chuck Smith
It is only when I commit my journey (and re-commit it hourly) to the Lord and trust Him to bring it to pass in my life that I am truly free to rest. I am free to discover delight. I am free to focus on doing good where I am instead of carrying the weight of the uncertainty of the unseen future on my shoulders and give it all to God.
I roll it over to Jesus and say, “Here, this is yours. You can take care of it.  I’m Yours and so is my future. Thank you that I don’t have to carry it, worry about it, fret and fight to make it happen. You already have a plan and a purpose for me. Help me to discover it step by step with You”.
How do you deal with an uncertain future?

Do Not Fret

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“Do not fret”.     ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭37:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Not “fretting” is easier said than done.
The original Hebrew word here for fret is “charah” and  it means to kindle oneself with a spark of anxiety or worry, whip it up into an inner frenzy and feed it facts or wonderings until it is a voracious fire in your soul that burns long and hot like the oil fires in the desert.
The picture is one who burns until they are charred.
That is what fretting will do to you.
The King James Version says, “Fret not thyself” which reminds that no one can get me to fret but me.  I do it to myself. It’s not God or others that do it  – I do it.
Do not fret.
It is a command, not a suggestion.
It doesn’t help your situation or your heart. It doesn’t halt, change or stop things from happening. Fretting and incessant worrying steals your focus, burns up your energy and leaves you with a crispy attitude.
It is not your job. 
The rest of the verse tells us that it’s God’s job to deal with what other people are doing. He is good at it.  He knows what is happening. He sees what is going on. Let the Lord worry about what others do or don’t do.
Let God be God.
You do you. 
What is the best thing to do when a spark of fear ignites a frenzy of anxiety?
Douse it with the Word and have your favorite verse handy to pour all over it.
One of my favorites in the face of a good fret is:
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬
The word “affliction” essentially means “pressure”.
My friend, when the pressure is on, spend your energy pursuing hope. Don’t quit when things get hard.  If you must work on something, work on keeping your heart open and filled with the wonder and expanse of God’s love. 
Center yourself in Christ.
Focus on God’s goodness instead of other people’s choices.
Fix your eyes on Jesus and do what he has given you to do today.
Do. Not. Fret.

Go for it

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“ And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

My friend, throw off everything that is holding you back today and go for everything God is calling you to do.

You are graced to run your race (not your neighbor’s race or your sister’s race or your boss’s race – your race).

Run it with perseverance.

Don’t quit.

When you get tired, rest.

But don’t stop.

Begin again.

Get back on track and run your race until it’s over.

Reset Your Rest

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Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”

Psalm 116:7 NIV

Don’t let a bad attitude rob you of a good opportunity to be used by God today.

The very best way to change your attitude is by reminding yourself who God is and who you are in Christ.

When the world crowds in on you and makes you feel claustrophobic with all the “things needed ASAP”, it is good to take a moment to chill out and remember that God is good and has been good to you.

It resets your perspective and returns your internal state from “fret” to “rest”.

Unwind your worry.

Reset your soul.

God has called you to be a change maker where you are.

He will give you everything you need to do it including reminding you to get out of the way.

Let go of all the things you can’t control today and reset the one thing you can- your attitude.

What does re-setting your soul to rest in Jesus look like for you today?

Prayer is…

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Prayer is a retreat.

The word “retreat” is a military term. It means to get off the battlefield, to quit fighting, back out and regroup.

A time to take a step back.

Flee the battlefield to regroup, reassess, restrategize and recover.

“May God look you full in the face and make you prosper”.

Numbers 6:26 MSG

The word for “prosper” here in the original Hebrew is “shalom” and often translated as peace.  Shalom is the peace that comes after the conflict and the quietness that comes after the chaos.

At its core, “Shalom” means the type of wholeness that comes after being broken.

Fighting a battle when you’re exhausted, wounded and discouraged never works.

Are you exhausted, wounded, or discouraged? 

Then it is time to pray.

To take a step back, find a quiet place with God so He can repair what is broken, remind you of His purpose and arm you with His vision.

Jesus has given you full access to God’s presence.

Enter in and rest.

He is waiting for you.

My prayer is that you would get off the battlefield for a while and allow God to love you to wholeness. 

Stay there as long as you need to.

What Do You Need Today?

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Life is unpredictable.

Every day brings the unexpected and unplanned for.

The good news is that you have Jesus. He is here to guide you through it. He is your Shepherd.  He sees ahead, helps you walk through, takes you where you need to go and protects you along the way. Dangers may loom, predators may attack but you are not alone.

“GOD, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.  You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.”

Psalm 23:1-3 MSG

Are you tired and worn out?

Jesus has quiet waters to restore your tired soul. Quiet means still, waters are refreshing. When was the last time you just let all around you become quiet and refreshed your spirit?

Is your soul starved?

Jesus will lead you to green pastures that will feed your hungry heart. He has made you with intentional and unique ways of refilling yourself when you’re empty. When was the last time you spent time doing what fills your soul?

Are you feeling lost?

God will guide you to the right paths that will bring God glory. He has created on purpose for a purpose and will guide you in it. When was the last time you asked Him to show you the right path for this season? Often we continue in an old path from an old season until we look around and say, “I’m not in the right place”. Jesus is a present God who will give you updated guidance on the right path you are meant to be on.

He will lead you through the hills, the valleys , the deserts and all the while, in the middle of it all, will provide a place for you to rest, refill, refocus in Him.

Jesus is the good Shepherd, let Him lead you to quiet waters. He will lead you to what you really need today.