Black Friday

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Black Friday has changed over the years and isn’t the mad rush at midnight that it used to be. Black Friday has changed but the stress of the season hasn’t. Today I want to remind you of a few things to help you deal with it:

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 the why of the season.

“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 today. 

What Your Shoulders Carry

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When your shoulders feel burdened and your heart is heavy, you need to ask whose yoke you are wearing.

When stress bears down on your neck and depression clouds your mind, you need to ask whose yoke you are wearing.

When despair shuts down your vision and hopelessness siphons your strength, you need to ask whose yoke you are wearing.

“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When Jesus is offering you His yoke, it is an invitation to lay down whatever you are carrying (the yoke you have been walking in) whether it’s heavy because of what others have put on it or because of the burdens you yourself have added.

It is an invitation to come alongside Jesus and yoke up with Him.  His yoke is light for you because He bears all the weight of it. The word used for “easy” doesn’t mean without effort, it means “fit for use”.

There is still a yoke to bear and a burden to carry.  The difference is that Jesus bears the weight of it and gently trains you on how to fully function in it.

How to walk and rest, follow and trust, and with Him function faithfully in God’s purposes for you.

Are you bearing your own yoke? Your own plans, purpose, and expectations?

Are you walking in someone else’s yoke? Someone else’s plans, purposes, and expectations?

What are God’s plans, purposes, and expectations for this day? What would it look like to walk in them?

May you check whose yoke you are shouldering often and learn from Jesus how to be fully yoked with Him.

May you trust His gentle heart and let Him lead you to unseen delights of service to others today.

Drop Every Fear

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“I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise. I live and breathe GOD; if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy: Join me in spreading the news; together let’s get the word out. GOD met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭34:1-4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

You will have lots of opportunities today to worry, to second guess and be anxious.

You will also have lots of opportunities to bless God, breathe in His presence and receive His joy.

They are the same opportunities, it is what you do with them that makes the difference.

Take a deep breath, expand your lungs and your faith.

Take every opportunity you get to worry today and turn it into worship.

Turn every chance you get to stress today and turn it into a moment to trust.

God will meet you more than halfway and will use every chance you give Him to free you from your fears.

The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Take every chance, drop every fear and let the Lord be your stronghold today.

Supported

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“for He, God, Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down or relax My hold on you! Assuredly not!” ‬ Hebrews 13:5 ‭AMP

When you are facing financial stress and can’t see how you are going to make it, go back to this promise.

When you are feeling like you don’t have enough, go back to this promise.

When you are feeling that you are not enough, go back to this promise – Jesus will not fail you, give you up or leave you without support.

He will not leave you helpless.

He will not forsake you.

He will not relax His hold on you.

No never, no never, no never.

Your peace does not lie in “enough” but in Christ.

Circumstances will come and go but Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.

 

Surrender

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Faith begins with trust, is walked out in trust and ends with trust.

Striving is not the solution.
Stressing out is not the solution.
Surrender is the solution.

Surrender yourself to God.
Surrender your situation to God.
Surrender your fears to God.

This isn’t about giving up but it is very much about the giving over of yourself into God’s hands.

Not because you understand how He can work a miracle but by believing He can work a miracle.

Surrender is about trusting him to be who He is your loving Father.

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

Surrender your fears and embrace your faith. Choose to walk according to who Jesus is and not according to who others are.

You Are Not on Your Own

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Hem me in your love, O God.

“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:5-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

You may feel like you are on your own to deal with life.

That you are on your own to deal with stress.

On your own to make it happen, whatever “it” is, but you are not on your own, you are God’s beloved child.

His love goes before you and His grace follows behind you.

You are cherished and provided for, guided and anointed to walk confidently in God’s love.

God goes before you to make a way where there seems to be no way, He sets up divine appointments for you to walk in and he brings people across your path that need you.

He blesses you with what you need to do what He has called you to do.

His hand of blessing is on your head. He has hemmed you in His love.

That means in ALL that you do, big or small, his hand of blessing is on it- because his hand of blessing is on you.

My prayer for you is that you will begin to see yourself in the light of God’s passionate love for you:

He has chosen you.
Rescued you.
Provided for you.
Forgiven you.
Equipped you.
Goes before you.
Follows up after you.

God’s love is not like man’s love. He is not controlling you, He is surrounding you with Himself and there is more freedom in his presence than anywhere else in the world.

“For in him we live and move and have our being.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭17:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In Jesus, you have permission to live fully in God’s grace and walk confidently with His hand of blessing on you.

You are beloved and surrounded by Him. Set your fear aside and walk confidently in His love today.

Gentle Evidence

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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.

What does being led gently feel like to you?

What does not bending to peer pressure, not comparing yourself to others and not even trying to fit in look like to you?

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.