Walking It Out

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“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”     ‭‭

2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Walking is a pretty mundane activity.
It’s not as glamorous as running.
I’ve always wanted to be a runner but I am definitely not one.  I am simply a very good walker.
Walking is what you learn early by falling down a lot.
It is what gets you to the kitchen in the morning for your first cup of coffee.
It is basic and boring and taken for granted unless you can’t do it anymore.
Charles Spurgeon said,
“That man has not yet learned the true spirit of Christianity who is always saying, ‘I can preach a sermon by faith.’ Yes, sir, but can you make a coat by faith? ‘Can you cook dinner by faith?”.
The real work of life isn’t using your gifts by faith but living your life by it: Paying your bills, doing your job, cooking dinner, cleaning the toilet.
It is in these small necessary everyday things that God’s power is revealed not just in the great things but in the small ordinary ones. 
It is when God’s grace and power are evident in washing the dishes when you are tired and spent.
It is when you stop yourself from going all buck wild on the attitude you just received from your teenager.
It is when the holiday isn’t working out to be what you hoped for but you are able to roll with the punches and still enjoy the special moments that would otherwise be buried in resentment and disappointment.
When what you see does not dictate how you behave.
That is when faith leads your life instead of sight. 
It isn’t very exciting but it is totally life-giving.
Don’t worry about running your faith race today, just focus on walking it out faithfully.
Love you.
Today may you walk slowly, steadily and consistently in faith in who Jesus is, what He has done and in who He is re-creating you to be.

Cast It All

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One morning during worship, a familiar fear wondered into my mind. With my hands already lifted in worship, I felt the Lord say to me, “You can hold onto your fear, or you can give it to me but you can’t do both.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Cast –  to toss. You can’t throw something without letting it go.

All – every irrational fear, every overwhelming worry. as they come.

Your – they are not God’s anxieties but He will take them.

Anxiety – the word used here means to be drawn in different directions. Literally means to be torn apart.

On Him – where to put what is tearing you apart. Jesus is strong enough to carry them, no matter how heavy they are. He will not remove the circumstances that are causing you anxiety but he will walk you through them and teach you how to deal with them.

Because He Cares – this is a present active verb as in “caring right now in this present moment”.

For You – yes, YOU.

God is caring for you right now.

The quote “Don’t tell me that worry doesn’t work, because what I worry about doesn’t happen” used to be one of my favorites before I met Jesus.

God doesn’t want fear to be the center of your life – He wants to be the center of your life.

Make Jesus the center and cast your fears on Him today.

What Are You Worried About?

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“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 as a Jesus follower, He is. 

Worry doesn’t keep some things from happening but it does keep you from enjoying what is happening in your life. It keeps you distracted, depressed and in a cycle of anxiety.

My friend, dispose of worry from being the center of your life and put Jesus there. He is a much better Lord than worry and fear. Bring what you are worrying about today and put them in God’s capable hands. Instead of worrying, pray. Then allow a sense of God’s wholeness fills your soul.  Then get busy loving the people He has placed in your life.

What is worry stealing from you today?

What can I pray for you? 

Peace

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You will have many things to worry about today.

Some things you worry about all the time.

Some things you can’t anticipate until they are upon you.

Either way, you can collect worry like it’s your job or you can choose peace.

You have peace with God through Jesus Christ and because of that, you can receive peace from God in every situation.

That doesn’t mean the day before you are not full of challenges, it means that you have already decided to face them with the peace of God ruling your heart rather than the anxiety of man.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Recognize that out of all the decisions you will make today, the most important one will be what you choose to hold onto God’s peace or your worry?

The Weight of Anxiety

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

He cares for you.

He cares for more than you can comprehend. 

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. 

Yes, He knows.

Yes, He can handle it.

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

The word “cast” is a word picture of throwing something very heavy and getting it out of your hands.

Jesus can handle whatever you are carrying. He who carried the weight of your sin can carry the weight of your fears.

Does God care? 

Yes, He absolutely does.

Rest

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Wholeness takes time.

Abundant life in Christ includes abundant rest in Him.

Resting from trying to figure it all out.

Resting from worrying yourself sick.

Resting from trying to control everything and have the answers for everything.

“May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ.

The One who called you is completely dependable.

If he said it, he’ll do it!”

1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:23-24‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Take a deep breath, slow down.

The very best thing you can do is rest in Him.

The Lord isn’t slow in keeping His promises,  He is faithful to complete what He has started and is completely dependable.

I know it isn’t easy and life may not make sense right now.

Hold on, my friend.

Let Jesus work.

Trust in Him.

Put yourself and what is weighing heavy on your heart into His Hands.

He is patient with you (and with others) because He sees more than you do, His reach extends yours and His knowledge is not hindered by time or eternity.

God knows real change takes time and He is willing to wait.

Rest in Him today and give yourself permission to stop worrying about things you can’t control.

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.

Faith

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“So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God.”     1 Corinthians 2:5 AMP

When your faith rests in the wisdom of man, it falters because at it’s best, it is a human attempt to explain the divine.

When your faith rests in feelings, it surges and wanes like the waves of the sea.

When your faith rests on experience, it morphs into whatever you are experiencing now, good or bad.

When your faith rests on Jesus and what He has done for you, it is the rock upon which the waves of emotion break, the wisdom that confounds the wise and the truth that gives your experience perspective.

Stop worrying about how you feel, what others say or what happened in the past.

Put your faith in Jesus and who He is.

He is bigger than your fears, knows what to do with your worries and is working behind the scenes to bless you.

May today be filled with the promise of the finished work of Jesus in your life and bring you to a new level of faith that is not tossed by emotions but anchored in God’s unchanging love for you.

What do you need to trust Jesus with today?

Worry to Worship

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“I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms-I’m celebrating your rescue. I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers.”
Psalm 13:5, 6 MSG

A whisper of fear can wedge open the door of worry.  Instead of being focused on all the wonders of your world, the worries of it eclipse your perspective.

Jesus has a better idea.

Instead of being caught up in worry, throw yourself headlong into worship.

When you worry, you are focused on what if’s, what’s next and what is going to happen?

When you worship, you are focused on God’s faithfulness, goodness, and love.

The shift from worry to worship is like being transported to another world. The tightness in your chest releases and opens up, faith floods in and overflows.

The things you are worried about might not change but by changing your focus from worry to worship you will dramatically change how you experience them.

When David wrote this, he was in the middle of a battle. He had not seen the rescue or seen his prayers answered yet but he had decided he was tired of looking at the battle and looked up to God instead. He decided to celebrate the coming rescue, fill his heart with the kind of overflowing gratitude that comes when you see the answer to your prayers. David just didn’t feel like waiting until he saw it- he wanted to celebrate the victory now.

You know what I love about God? He doesn’t mind when I decide to party prematurely. He doesn’t shake his finger at me and say “You just need to wait until you see it with your eyes then you can celebrate”. No, that is the world’s way. God’s way is to celebrate before the battle is won, say thank you before you get the gift and dance in the jail cell before you are released!

Because the battle has been won on the cross, the gifts are on their way and
the release has already been secured by Jesus himself.

It is time to break away from worry and break into worship, my friend. To throw yourself headlong into the arms of Jesus and worship him for all he has done, all he will do and most of all – for who he is. He is Lord, Savior, Redeemer and the Son of God.

Run from worry and start celebrating the victory that is on its way.

What is your favorite worship song or album?

When was the last time you shut out the world, pumped up the volume and surrounded yourself in worship?

How will you make that happen today?

Small Worries

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“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

Luke 12:25, 26 NIV

Small worries can become big distractions.

They distract you from living loved and loving fearlessly.

What are you worried about today, my friend?

Is it something that is in your hands to change or something out of your control?

If it is something within your power to change, I am asking Jesus to give you the courage to do it. To step out in faith, following His leading and do what you can do.

If it is something out of your control, something you have no power to change, I am asking Jesus to meet you in the place of your fear and give you the power to release it to Him. You may not have the power to change it but He does.

Jesus is bigger than your fear and able to provide what you need.

May a small worry be transformed into a powerful moment to release and trust in the One who holds the universe (and you) in the palm of His hand today.