“Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.” Matthew 6:12 MSG
“Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ be ‘No.”’
Matthew 5:37 NKJV
A simple answer but rarely an easy one.
At some point, you will need to say NO to good things so you can say YES to the things God is calling you to.
For those who are challenged by saying “NO”, here are ten different ways to say it:
1. I would prefer another option.
2. I would love to say yes to everything, but that would be stupid.
3. Someone would be awesome at this, I am not that person.
4. Some things have come up that need my attention.
5. We should rethink this.
6. My instincts tell me I’m just not suitable for this.
7. It would cause the slow withering death of my soul.
8. Um, no.
9. My plate is already full but I will be happy to suggest somebody else’s plate to put it on.
10. No, I’m doing all I can right now but thank you for giving me the opportunity.
What do you need to say “NO” to in order to make room for the right “Yes”?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28 NIV
The Greek word for “rest” in Matthew 11:28 means:
1) to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength
2) to give rest, refresh, to give one’s self rest, take rest
3) to keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation
It is an invitation from Jesus to stop your work and invest in rest.
Make time to stop producing, stop creating and simply breathe.
Take a minute or an hour to do something that fills your soul.
Close your eyes so you can really see what is going on inside of you.
Open your eyes to love the people who are around you.
It is not a one-time invitation, it is a spiritual investment for a lifestyle of trust.
Jesus is saying “come to me” whenever you need to rest and as often as you need to rest.
Are you soul tired today?
Come to Jesus, His arms are open for you.
Jesus will complete what He started in you but He will not do it without you.
The thing is, that you decide how long it takes for some things to be worked out.
God has begun a good work in you, but if you don’t step out in faith and trust what He has asked of you, the work will not be done in you until you do.
If you choose to hold on to bitterness rather than forgive, you lengthen your journey.
If you allow fear to stop you from stepping up and doing what God has called you to do, Jesus won’t leave you. He will walk with you. He will continue to heal you, develop His grace in you. God will continue to bring it before you and put the choice(s) in your hand.
What you choose to do with it, is up to you.
Many times, God has already given us what we need to grow and He is waiting for us to take a step of faith.
Scripture says that God will work in you but He will not walk for you. That is up to you.
“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”
2 John 1:6 NIV
Even if it is a small step, trust and obey.
Especially if it is a small step, trust and obey.
My friend, take the first step without knowing what the second step is.
That is the definition of trusting God.
What is Jesus asking you to trust Him in?
What small step is He asking you to take today?
Jesus had face time with His Father before He faced the storm.
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.
He stood on the shore alone. Jesus didn’t look for a boat or wait until He found one. He just walked right into the storm by doing the impossible and walked on the water.
You may feel like you are facing an impossible situation.
Good news: your Savior knows how to do impossible things.
Jesus knows where you are and what you are facing.
When things get overwhelming, lean in and hear His voice: “Before you face the day, get face to face with Me. I will bring you through it. I know the way”.
“If God brings you to it, he will bring you through it”.
Life often demands that you keep on walking even when you are tired. When you are burdened with grief, you still have to go to work. When you are battle weary someone still has to do the dishes.
Jesus says there is a way to walk and rest at the same time:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it”
Matthew 11:28 MSG
He says walk with me and I will show you how to do it. He says to “Take my yoke” which just means “partner with me”.
Jesus says “I will bear the load and lead the way. Walk with me.”
Your “yoke” today may be dripping with unmet expectations, foundation-shaking experiences or unbearably heavy with too many obligations.
Jesus says to you today, “Here, take my yoke and I will take yours. My yoke is dripping with grace, burdened with divinely appointed purpose and wrapped in a deep peace that is not moved by tumultuous circumstances.”
You may be tired and weary today but still, you have to keep walking. Don’t walk alone. And swap yokes with Jesus, His is much better.
May you walk far and rest well in Jesus today.
A great life requires quiet strength.
A strength that gets up when it is tired.
Does the right thing when it doesn’t feel like it.
Holds on when it wants to let go.
Pushes through when it would be easier to quit.
It isn’t pretty.
It is strong.
It has scars.
Quiet strength doesn’t stop.
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.”
Colossians 3:12- MSG
It is the kind of strength that Jesus demonstrated every day as He walked with mankind and made his way to the cross.
The life that God has called you to live requires a quiet strength and a steely determination.
You can’t do it without Jesus and He doesn’t ask you to.
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,” Ephesians 3:16 NIV
The quiet strength of God defies logic and grows in what seems to be an impossible place.
Don’t give up.
Draw strength from Jesus today and keep doing what God is calling you to do.
Faith is not a feeling.
Faith is a choice. It is a choice to believe something that leads to doing something.
This is the year to do the thing that faith is prompting and fear is resisting.
To trust God with the impossible.
To put actions to your words.
“Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything?”
James 2:14 NLT
If God is asking you to do it, He has already given what you need for it.
He has already equipped you for it.
“Faith is taking the first step before you know what the second step is.”
– Joyce Meyers
God is bigger than your fear and has a purpose for your faith.
He needs you to be who He has called you to be and do what He has asked you to do.
It isn’t about you, it is about who your obedience will impact.
It is time to put your faith into action.
What is God challenging you to do this year?
I stopped making New Years Resolutions a few years ago.
It has been a relief to not focus on myself and instead focus on putting into action what God has already prompted me to do.
If God has given you something to do, He will provide a way for you to do it.
It will be not easy.
You will have to choose to keep going in spite of all the obstacles, all the setbacks, all the failures.
You are going to have to fight for it and start over again and again.
Most of them are not big things but the little ones that make a big difference in your life but also easily slip through the cracks of a busy life.
So, my challenge for you this year: don’t make a New Year’s Resolution list.
Instead, be resolutely committed to being simply and wholeheartedly faithful to do what God has already asked you to do.
Keep it simple.
Keep it consistent.
Find a way to stay faithful.
What do you need to start or restart that God asked you to do in 2018?
Happy New Year’s Eve!
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:2-3 NIV
I wanted to remind you that you are saved by grace so that you can:
Love by grace,
Forgive by grace,
Grow by grace,
Give by grace,
Work by grace,
Eat by grace,
LIVE BY GRACE
“And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
Romans 11:6 NIV
Grace, as in – God’s work for you vs. my work in me.
We begin to start working on “being better” and “doing better”. We begin to work on being a good Christian. But it doesn’t work, does it?
How easy it is to slip into the “flesh work” after we accept Christ’s gift of salvation. Sometimes it takes minutes not days.
“Self -improvement is no more God’s plan than self-salvation. God’s plan is not just for us to be saved by grace -it is for us to live by grace. God’s plan is for my daily life to be given, guided, guarded and energized by the grace of a God.”
– John Ortberg,
The Me I Want to Be, pg 39.
God hasn’t redeemed you so that you can be a “good Christian”, He has redeemed you to love you and empower you to love others.
Jesus has opened wide the door for you to walk with Him every day and draw from His unquenchable source of love to pour into every area of your life.
May you be so drenched in His love that is drips off you and onto everything you touch.