How God Tests You.

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.”  ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:3‬ ‭NIV

The crucible is a vessel used to melt the silver and gold so the impurities of the precious metal will rise to the top. When it does, the refiner will skim it off.

It is the same with your heart. The Great Refiner will use the hot fires of life to cause the impurities in your heart to be revealed so He can clear them out. In His kindness, He will bring to the surface the things that are holding you back. When He brings it to the surface, it means that you are ready to deal with it. Your job is to stay in His Hand, deal with what comes up (which almost always begins by forgiving yourself or others) and allow the healing balm of His love to make you new.

How is your heart? 

What is Jesus bringing up?

What do you need to do with it?

What Are You Worried About Today?

What are you worried about today?

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.  It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

Worry is not meant to be the center of your life.

Worry will keep you distracted and you will miss the small moments of joy that are sent by God to let you know He loves you.

Worry is not meant to be the center of your life, Jesus is. His love for you is a much better rule of life than worry. Love is a better way to make decisions than fear.

Hand over what you are worrying about to Jesus right now.

Put it in God’s capable hands.

Instead of worrying, pray.

Then allow a sense of God’s wholeness to fill your soul.  

Then get busy loving the people He has placed in your life.

What is worry stealing from you today?

Believe Anyway

I want to encourage you today that no matter how dark the situation is, believe that God can do something in it anyway.

I want to challenge you to dare to trust Him in the desert – there is a promised land and you are on your way to it.

My prayer for you is that like Abraham you will decide to live today not based on what you can’t do but on what God can do through you.

God freely gives you His power to sustain you to walk, to love, to care and to be fully alive even when you may feel mostly dead inside.

“Abraham was first named ‘father’ and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing.

When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:17-18‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Long before Abraham saw the fruit of the promise, he believed God anyway. Though everything in his life seemed to indicate otherwise, he lived his life, every day, not looking at the impossibility of the promise but in the possibility of God.

I am sure that there were times that Abraham barely believed. I know that there were days that he was only holding on to a bare thread of hope…but he held on.

Hold on, my friend, you may only have a thread of hope, but in Christ, that thread is stronger than what you face and will hold against that which you fear.

Before You Face the Storm

ThursdJesus stood on the shore alone. He didn’t look for a boat or wait until He found one. He just walked right into the storm and walked on the water.

Today, you may feel like you are facing a storm and looking at an impossible situation.

Good news: your Savior knows how to handle it. He knows how to do impossible things.

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.

Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.

Matthew 14:22-25

Before you face the storm, get alone with God.  Get to a quiet place so you can hear His words to you:

Before you face the day, get face to face with Me. I will bring you through it. I know the way”.

Stay Calm

Thursday

It was an impossible situation.

The Israelites were stuck between the sea and their former slave masters coming to recapture them:

“But Moses told the people,‘Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today.The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:13-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Hemmed in by the mountains on both sides, they had no way out and no way forward. Their newfound freedom seemed fleetingly short and ultimately doomed.

They knew that God had delivered them from slavery but little more. They had not been free long enough to learn how powerful He is. 

They didn’t know that He would fight for them, split the sea before them and rescue them from an impossible situation.

They did not know God…yet.

When you don’t want to go back but don’t know how you are going to go forward, trust God and:

1. Don’t let fear dictate your decisions.

2. Don’t run around trying to figure out what to do. Stop. Pray. Listen. Stand still and watch the LORD work.

When going forward looks like an impossibility, trust Him.

He goes before you.

He goes behind you.

He stands next to you.

The LORD Himself will fight for you. 

You get to know about God as you trust Him to be God.

Trust Him and watch what He is about to do.

When You Feel Like Giving Up

Tuesday

When you feel like giving up, don’t.

There are gifts that only come from 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 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.

Hold on and keep trusting.

You are worth it.

Inexplicable Strength

Monday
Inexplicably and when it seems completely impossible, God can and will give you strength.
Strength to get up.
Strength to take care of what needs to be taken care of.
Strength to make hard decisions.
Strength to hold onto hope.
Strength to hold onto Him.
He gives strength to the weary.
I know that many of you are facing situations that are draining your strength and leaving you feeling powerless.
It is okay to admit you are not okay.
That you are tired and feel powerless right now.
God does not ask you to “fake it until you make it”, He asks you to receive His grace for one more day.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:29‬ ‭NIV‬‬
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬
What do you need strength for today? 
What does it look like to admit you need help rather than “fake it until you make it”?
I am praying for you today. I am praying that you find the strength to do what needs to be done, find your way into His rest, and walk forward in a power that is not your own.

What Defines You.

Wednesday.2

“He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said.”    

Romans‬ ‭4:19‬ ‭MSG

There comes a point in life that your faith becomes stronger by facing the facts, not weaker.

The facts may not be friendly or encouraging or what you want to face but as a child of God, you can face them. You can deal with reality instead of running from it.

How? By knowing that your circumstances do not define you, God does.

God chose you. 

God loves you.

That thing that God has called you to? You can’t make it happen but He can.

To be who God has created you to be you are going to have to let go of  “doing your best” and embrace “depending on God”.

You new life in God’s family isn’t “success and failure” based.

It isn’t “today, I did a good job”  so I’m feeling good or “I totally messed up ” and being depressed.

You will do a good job. You will make mistakes. This is not about denying how you feel. It is about allowing God’s feelings for you to be the foundation of how you experience your life.

His part is to guide and provide, your part is to follow and trust.

In Jesus, you have full rights as a child of God to live fully persuaded that God is able to do above and beyond all you can ask or imagine. 

He is able.

What are you asking for?

What are you imagining?

What are you trusting God in today?

Gentleness

Thursday

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

When I am stressed, gentleness is not my go-to mode of operation. Frustrated, fearful, anxious, and taking control is.

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 do through Him.

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. 

“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.

Words of the Wise

Wednesday
“Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭12:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬
Your words hold power.
They set the tone of the conversation.
They communicate your vision.
They can encourage and lift up or they can destroy trust, discourage, and complicate the entire situation.
Before you speak, ask yourself if your words are going to help the situation or hurt it?
When in doubt, don’t say anything at all.
Spend your time speaking the words you want to say and applying self-control to the ones you don’t.
My friend, may your words bring healing to those who desperately need it today and empower those around you to be courageous in pursuing the potential God has put in them.