In Love

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What drives out fear? Love does.

Don’t believe me? Think back to a time when you were in love with somebody. How bold were you? How much hope did you have for the future? Did you do any crazy things with them because you were in love with them?

Did you know you are loved?

You are loved with a perfect love from a sinless Savior who sacrificed Himself so that you could live unhindered by fear and live in His love.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.

‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus came to the earth He created to perfect love. The word perfect here doesn’t mean flawless, it means complete…completed completeness.

Not infatuation, or an excited feeling (which starts us out) but a deep developed love that stands the test of time and trial.

His was a love that bleeds when the lash tore open His back and the splintered wood of the cross dug into it.

A love that persevered through the unendurable physical and spiritual pain of the cross until He could utter the truth, “it is finished”.

His love has been made completely complete on the cross. The debt of sin has been paid and the great chasm between God and man has been crossed. Why? For you.

When fear rises up to dismantle your faith or weave it’s tentacles around your feet to trip you up, You must remember this fact: You have nothing to fear. You are in love. 

Christ took your punishment completely so that you could immerse you in His love.

It is perfect love and in it, you are made whole.

Jesus 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 and it is His love that sets you free to love as freely and completely as you are loved.

What drives fear out?
Love.

The love of Jesus.

Hang your hat on it and get down to the business of loving others with the confident abandon that comes with it.

Let All That I Am

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“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him”.

Psalm 62:5 NLT

Let all that I am

Daughter, wife, mother, friend, dreamer, detailer, realist, writer, speaker, cook, cleaner, pastor, inspirer, frail, my own worst critic, stubborn, strong, passionate, fearful, faithful, wonderful, beautiful, worry-full, redeemed, restored.

Rest…

Stop and don’t take another step forward. Hush anxious thoughts. Put down the to-do list. Quiet fearful eyes. Close the door. Rest with abandon. Embrace moments of peace. Breathe silence. Cease to think, worry, wonder and simply be.

Before God…

Not before the damage from the storm. Not before your bills. Not before your responsibilities. Not before your failures and faults nor your achievements or success. Wait quietly before God. The Creator, Provider, Peace Maker, Redeemer, Savior, Lord. He is sovereign and merciful, strong and gentle. Powerful and purposeful.

For my hope…

The tender expectations of possibility. Easily bruised. Unrealistic. Fantastic. Wonderful. Amazing hope.

Hope is the vehicle of momentum filled with a gas tank of faith and moves you forward. Without hope, the tank is empty, you feel as if you are going nowhere with no indication of possible change. With hope, nothing is impossible because with God all things are possible.

Is in Him…

My hope is wrapped up in the arms of grace surrounding my soul. My hope is not in temporal things, temporal circumstances, fleeting happiness but in a Person. My hope is held securely in nail-scarred hands. My hope is in Jesus, precious Jesus. Faithful Jesus. Powerful Jesus. Loving Jesus.

Where is your hope?

Unsure But Secure

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You can be unsure what the future may bring but be secure in the knowledge that God knows the plans he has for you.

You can be unsure about your finances but secure that God is your provider.

You can be unsure of what life will bring your way but secure that although it feels like your flesh and heart may fail, God is the strength of your heart and your portion forever.

You can be unsure of how long your life may be but secure that you will live forever with God.

You can be unsure even in your own faithfulness but rest secure in God’s.

He is your Rock.
He is your Strength.
He is your Guide.
He is your Savior.

You do not walk alone, you are not abandoned.

You are loved and cherished by the King of kings and Lord of lords.

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭18:32‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Get up and do what you have to do today.

Do it in God’s strength, God’s grace and wrapped in his unquenchable love.

Real Gifts

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“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
James‬ ‭1‬:‭17‬ NIV
The real gifts of life come in moments, not in boxes. 
They are the smiles of genuine friends, the tears of precious ones,
the laughter shared and the hugs received.
They are the moments of courage that push you forward and the moments of risk that change your life.
They are the mundane quiet moments with God as well as the powerful, anointed ones.
And the very best moment of all is the moment that you know Jesus not as the babe in the manger but as the Savior on the cross. It is the moment that changes your eternity and opens up all of heaven to you. It is the moment you accept Christ’s gift of salvation.
Jesus is the good and perfect gift sent to us from God.
As you experience all kinds of moments today with friends and family, may the good and perfect gift from heaven fill your heart with unspeakable joy and absolute peace.

Cast It

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In order to cast ALL your anxiety on Him, you have to move your focus from your anxiety to your Savior.

You focus on what you’re worried about, what you can’t control, what you are not strong enough to carry. You focus on the problem and how heavy it weighs upon your shoulders. You focus on your own hands when God is asking you to focus on His heart. 

He cares for you.

He cares for more than you even realize. 

When you are in the middle of a fierce storm feeling out of control and tossed around, you ask Jesus, like the disciples did in Mark 4:38, “Do you even care that I’m in this storm? I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t cause it to happen and I’m not sure if I’m going to make it through.” 

The answer is yesHe cares.

When you are burnt out and overwhelmed with life, you go to Jesus like Martha did in Luke 10:40, and ask,  “Don’t you care that I’m doing all the work and no one is helping me?”

The answer is yesHe cares.

In fact, the Hebrew word used for “care” in both the above passages is the SAME word used in 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) –

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Does God care? 

Yes, He absolutely does.

When You Feel Like Giving Up

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When you feel like giving up, don’t.
There are gifts that only come by facing the hard things.
There is growth that only comes from holding onto God through the toughest times.
There is maturity that only develops as you persevere when everything around you is uncomfortable, difficult and hard.
“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4 NIV)
Don’t give up.
Hold on to Jesus like He is your Savior and let perseverance complete you.
If you quit halfway through you will never know what God has for you.  He has a plan to complete you, to bring you to wholeness, to bring the parts that are broken and disconnected together knitted by His grace restored by His strength completed by His love.
Don’t quit. Buckle down, hold on and keep working.
You are worth it.

Wait

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭37:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I don’t wait well if I’m tired. I don’t wait patiently if I’m empty. And just telling me to “be still” doesn’t help me be still.

To get to“be still” in Psalms 37:7, I have to start with“trust” in vs. 2.

Trust. Delight. Commit. Wait.

Start at trust– lean on the Lord.

Add delight– lean into the Lord.

Chose to commit– give it totally to the Lord.

Then be stillbefore the Lord.

Be still: The Hebrew word used here doesn’t mean for your body to not move, it means to be silent.

Silent your mind, quiet the overthinking and obsessive worrying.

Stop talking about it.

Stop thinking about it.

Clear your mind.

No words.

Create space in the silence.

Be in the quiet.

(Sabbath Rest: know you’re not God, celebrate, rest.)

Wait patiently:  I thought the meaning of this phrase would continue the thought of resting quietly but it actually means to move with energy.

It is the word “chuwl” and it means to twist, whirl, dance.

Trust. Delight. Commit. Wait.

And while you wait, dance like you have nothing to worry about.

While you rest inwardly, dance outwardly.

If you don’t identify as a dancer, identify as a worshipper. Listen to your favorite song or the song God is using in your life right now and get lost in it. Stop thinking about your situation and start worshipping your Savior.

Listen to your favorite worship song and get lost in it.

Stop thinking about your situation and start worshipping your Savior.

Trust. Delight. Commit. Wait.

Over the last 25 years, Those words have become like a Biblical mantra I go back to when I am walking through uncertain times and when I needed to stop looking at what everyone was doing and start focusing on what God wanted me to do.

Trust. Delight. Commit. Wait.

I love you and I am praying for you, my friend. Take some time to refill and center yourself on who you are in Christ.

 

Unto Us 

Eternity entered time and wrapped himself in flesh.

He who had no beginning or end, gave himself a birthday.

Second Person of the Trinity, eternal, all powerful, left heaven to add humanity to his deity.

Fully God, fully man.

Immanuel.

God with us.

Jesus.

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.

He will reign on Davidʼs throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭9:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

1 day till Christmas…

Experience Him


Whenever you feel lost and unsure of how to start up again, go back to the basics.

2 Peter 1:5-9 in the Message Version has a beautiful way of looking at building a sturdy foundation through your daily experience of Jesus:

Begin again, go back to Basic Faith – the first step, the abandoned sin, throwing of oneself upon the mercy of God and walking forward into the unseen with the belief that you are not alone to develop…Good Character– staying true to what you believe in the little things and letting those small choices of integrity overflow into the big things as you grow in…Spiritual Understanding– the moments you can’t explain, but know are true that help you walk in…Alert Discipline– not allowing time, tiredness, busyness, past baggage, old excuses erode right habits, receiving grace and energy from God as you endeavor to live in…Passionate Patience– being able to expectantly wait for one thing while wholehearted working for another. Choosing to focus on being obedient, not on the results of being obedient while walking in…Reverent Wonder– the awe of knowing God’s power combined with the wide eyes of a childlike heart and living with…Warm Friendliness- the smile, the hug, gentle knowing atmosphere of those who are confidently walking in their purpose while loving those other’s with God’s…Generous Love– being able to love those closest to us without fear or conditional embraces as well as the ability to love those we barley know with an authenticity that only comes from intimately knowing God.

“For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

May you experience Jesus and know Him today as your loving Savior, close Friend, trusted Counselor, reliable Guide, powerful Redeemer, hope Giver, grace Maker, and sovereign Lord.

Experiencing His love and working it into all the different parts of your daily life is what changes itit is what changes you.

Have an amazing Wednesday, my friend!

What Amazes God

  

There are two times recorded in the Bible where Jesus stood amazed:

1. At the unbelief of people from his hometown. (John 6:1-5)
 
2. At the faith of the Roman centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant by sending His word. (Luke 7:7,9)

‭”We never read that Jesus marveled at art or architecture or even the wonders of creation. He never marveled at human ingenuity or invention. He didn’t marvel at the piety of the Jewish people or the military dominance of the Roman Empire. But Jesus did marvel at faith – when it was present in an unexpected place, and when it was absent where it should have been.” 
— David  Guzick 

Have you ever been amazed what God is doing in someone else’s life but unable to believe that He could do anything in yours? 

You can get sidetracked by looking at natural facts instead of looking into the face of Jesus. 

You can build your faith or tear it down according to what you focus on. 

Your faith does not add to God’s ability.

Your lack of it does not limit it either.

Jesus is Almighty God, Advocate, Savior, King of kings and Lord of lords. He can do more than you can ask or imagine. 

The difference between the faith (or lack of faith) of those in Jesus’ home town and that of the centurion was that the first group never even asked Jesus do something. They rationalized away His power with their  knowledge and past experience.  The centurion knew how authority worked, looked at what Jesus had done for others and took a risk.
He asked.

Faith asks.
Faith acts.
Faith risks.
Faith obeys.

You may be waiting until you have more faith to ask. More faith to act. More faith to risk. More faith to obey but Jesus said it’s not the amount of faith you have, it’s what you do with it. 

“So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”. Matthew‬ ‭17:20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I am not saying I understand it all or have wrapped my brain around it. 

I am only asking myself (and you) a couple of questions:

“Am I using the faith I have and doing something with it, no matter how small I think it is?”

and

“How am I amazing God today?”