Why Is This Friday So Good? 

  

For so many reasons, I love having a little one in the house again. I love teaching her all about my Lord. Seeing Him come alive for her is beautiful. I love her sweet questions and her awe in Him. I love the way her eyes shine when she tells me things He is teaching her, and the way she runs to Him in prayer about anything is especially good for my heart. That’s my job….pointing her to Him. 

One question she asked is, “Why is this Friday so good when it’s a day Jesus died? We love Him so much, why do we call it good that He died?

Friends, this is why we commemorate Jesus’ death on the cross by calling it Good Friday: 

Without His death, we don’t have the Resurrection. And without His Resurrection, we don’t have a Savior. Without our Savior, we don’t have salvation

Because Jesus died and rose again, we have victory, forgiveness, mercy, grace. We have a home in eternity with Him. 

If the Resurrection didn’t happen, then nothing about Jesus is true. Since the Resurrection did happen, everything about Jesus is true. Jesus Christ is our risen Savior, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born on this earth, died on the cross for our sins, rose again, and is alive. He’s alive!

It all —all of this. Here. Now. You. Us. Our purpose. Our reasons. Our why’s, how’s and when’s. Our eternity— hangs on the death and the resurrection of the Son of God. 

What appeared at first to be a tragedy was in fact a triumph, because by His death on the cross, Jesus purchased our salvation. We are separated from God because of our sin, and because we are sinners, we have no hope of eternal life. 

You see, God is pure and Holy, and even one sin —just one— would be enough to keep us out of Heaven. But Jesus, my dear, sweet Jesus. By His death on the cross He became the perfect and final Sacrifice for our sins. And because of that, Heaven’s door is now flung wide open to all who put their faith and trust in Him. 

That’s why we can call the day on which Jesus, the Love of my life, died “Good Friday”. In fact, it was the greatest Friday in the history of the human race because on that day, Jesus won our salvation. 

At one time, the Bible says we were “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). But, now we have hope because Christ died for us. 

The nails didn’t hold Him to that cross, love did. 

Take a moment and relish in this one fact: death could not hold Him. 

They will mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him with a whip, and kill Him, but after three days He will rise again. Mark 10:34 NLT

I am the Resurrection and the Life. Anyone who believes in Me, even if he dies, will still have life ~Jesus, John 11:25

It. Is. Finished.

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So, What Is Palm Sunday?

  

It’s Palm Sunday! 

So, what is Palm Sunday anyway?




Palm Sunday is the day Christians remember and celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection. Today is also referred to as “Passion Sunday,” and marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday.

Today, we remember that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, knowing full well that this trip would end in His sacrificial death for the sin of all humanity – that’s you and me. 

In His path, people threw their cloaks on the ground and put palm branches on the road before him. Others waved palm branches in the air. Large Passover crowds surrounded Jesus, shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9, ESV). 


WE WIN!

We remember and celebrate His triumphal entry as His beautiful triumph over sin and death. The gift of mercy and grace gifted to us by our sweet, and oh so loving Savior. WE WIN! All because of Jesus. All because of Jesus, sin lost its hold and death lost its sting. 

Hosanna means “save now”. Jesus can save you right now by becoming your Savior and Lord. Won’t you ask Him now? Don’t worry, He’ll say yes. But, you have to first accept this gift. 

There are two parts in gift giving: the giving, and the accepting. 


Jesus has already given His gift of Salvation by the giving of His life for yours, and now it’s your turn to accept His gift of Salvation. It’s free. No strings attached. No way to earn it. No way to lose it. 

Thank you Sweet, Sweet Jesus! 

Feel free to message me with any questions. 

(The Biblical account of Palm Sunday can be found in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19)IMG_2824

War Room: A Battle Plan

 

A storm is coming. Or you’re in a storm right now. We all know they’re a part of life. We don’t have to be told that. It’s no surprise to us. What it does is catch us off guard sometimes. We have to be ready. We have to be on guard and have a battle plan working and ready when it comes.

A boss that just wont get off our backs.

A spouse that doesn’t seem to be lined up with you at the moment.

A friend that isn’t really a friend.

A family member that seems like a stranger to you.

A competing co-worker.

Gossip.

Rage.

Hurt.

Betrayal.

A past.

A present.

Sin.

All these things and more can be a battle for us at any given time. We know this. We are warned about this in the Scriptures, so that isn’t the problem. The problem is in our battle plan.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities and the powers of the unseen dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

We forget that our battle isn’t with people and get sucked into battling each other. We argue with each other, battle our spouses and divide our own households, families, and work places. In other words, we help the devil carry out his very schemes we want to battle!

You see, there is a battle always going on in the spiritual realm. That’s where the fight is. That’s the battlefield and that’s where we need to fight. The enemy is our accuser. It’s always happening and we need a battle plan.

God is strong and He wants you strong and prepared. You’re up against more than you can handle on your own so take everything God has given you, well-made weapons of the best materials – God’s Word and prayer – and put them to use so you will be able to standup to everything the devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the devil and all his angels.

God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray first, pray often and about everything. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up that that no one falls behind or drops out.

This is an excellent Battle Plan!

I was invited to a premiere event last week for the movie War Room by the Kendrick Brothers – creators of Courageous, Fireproof, and Facing the Giants. This movie is coming out tomorrow, Friday, August 28, 2015. Priscilla Shirer stars in it and Beth Moore has a role too. These ladies are two of my favorite Bible Teachers. This movie is so inspiring. If you are a Believer, go see it. If you are alive and breathing, go see it. You’ll see the power of prayer played out on the big screen. You’ll be moved to get active and speak out boldly and loudly against the enemy’s schemes in your life. You’ll come away with a battle plan. It’s what inspired me to write this message today. It inspired me to get back to my war room battle plan. I know it will inspire you to do the same.

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#WarRoom #KendrickBrothers #PriscilaShirer #BethMoore #Prayer #Bible

For Lent, I’m Giving Up

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“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God.” –Ephesians 2:8

It’s a good time of the year for fresh starts and new beginnings. Something Louie Giglio once said reminds me how to do that, “For Lent, I’m giving up.”

At first glance, we think there’s something missing from his sentence. But, no, “period” is exactly what should come next.

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. The beginning of the Lent Season. Let’s remember that it’s all about Jesus and what He did for us – not about what WE can do, give up, commit to, or accomplish. Nothing to prove.

Lent is a heart issue. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” it was and still is. Knowing the pressure is non-existent helps me prepare for the Easter season. The incredible thing is, knowing I don’t have to measure up actually makes me want to work harder in all areas of my life. He deserves the very best me, and I gladly give up. I give up all of me. Nothing hidden. Nothing to prove. Fully surrendered. Nothing held back. No part of my life held back from Him. Whatever He asks, my answer is YES.

Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s a gift from God from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make or save ourselves. God does both the making and the saving (Ephesians 2:8, The Message)

For some of us, part of our heart prep might be physical – as part of our obedience and humble stewardship. How will keeping your eyes outward and upward to Jesus make your commitments to healthier choices different, change the goals you set or how you prepare and execute them?

Prayer:

Lord, for Your glory and our growth, we don’t want an ordinary Lent season. I pray our hunger, thirst, assurance, and longing is intensified greatly! Saturate us with Your Gospel. It’s all about You, Jesus. It’s all about what You’ve done for us…..and continue to do in and through us…..not about what we’ll promise to do for You. Thank You! We look forward to Your return! In Jesus name. Amen.

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A Person

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Brick by brick, the tower grew higher and higher. And so did their pride. They wanted to be famous, and safe. They wanted to be “the ones” to do this thing with their own hands. They were quite pleased with themselves. “The ones”.

“Look at this mega church I built”. “Look at this ministry I built”. “The bigger, the better because people will see me and how close I am to Jesus”.

Sound familiar?

Yeah….

You see, God wasn’t pleased with them. He could see what they were doing. They were trying to live life without Him. That doesn’t make us happy, or safe, or ANYTHING.

Living life like that only destroys us. God loves us too much to let that happen. So, He’ll interfere. He’ll stop things. Plans get halted. We get annoyed, but we need to just see that God is saving us from ourselves.

God knows.

God knows that however high we reach, however hard we try, we can never get back to Heaven by ourselves. We are not saved by our works (Ephesians 2:8-10)

We don’t need a staircase; we need a Rescuer. The way back to Heaven isn’t a staircase, it’s a Person.

We can never reach up to Heaven, so Heaven came down to us Jesus.

Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.

It’s all about Jesus.

Today’s thought: I cannot save myself, this situation, or this person. I need Jesus.

See: Genesis 11

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow {Study of Esther Chapter 1}

Esther

 

Click on over and read: Esther Chapter 1

There was some major partying going on here. And a lot of pride and showing off of the goods by the King. Queen Vashti was throwing a separate shindig for the girls because, according to the Oriental fashion, the sexes do not intermingle in society, the court ladies were entertained in a separate apartment by the queen.

As the feast days advanced, the drinking was more freely indulged in, so that the close was usually marked by great excesses of revelry. The King sent for Queen Vashti. It’s a popular belief that he wanted her to appear wearing ONLY her crown.

The refusal of Vashti to obey an order which required her to make an indecent exposure of herself before a company of drunken revelers was unbecoming of both the modesty of her sex and her rank as queen; for, according to Persian customs, the queen, even more than the wives of other men, was secluded from the public gaze. Had not the king’s blood been heated with wine, or his reason overpowered by force of offended pride, he would have perceived that his own honor, as well as hers, was consulted by her dignified conduct. King Xerxes made a rash, half-drunk decision, based purely on feelings. His self-restraint and practical wisdom were weakened by too much wine. The issuance of that decree to the entire empire is ironic because it ensured that everyone in the empire would know about the King’s marital struggles, and not just the “noble women” (Vs. 18).

King Xerxes’ hurt pride turned to anger. Anger often blinds us from doing what is right and causes us to become vindictive. 

Poor decisions are made when people don’t think clearly. Our decisions and actions can cause irrevocable damage, too. We should base our decisions on careful thinking, not on the emotions of the moment. Impulsive decision-making can lead to severe complications.

Obviously, a law cannot possibly cause women to respect their husbands. Respect between a man and a woman is a matter of the heart – from mutual regard and appreciation of each other as people being made in God’s image, not from legal pronouncements and orders. Forced obedience is a poor substitute for the love and respect that wives and husbands should have for one another. For the same reason, instead of forcing us, God gives us free will to CHOOSE to love and follow Him. Beautiful.

We are all “Kings” and “Queens” of our homes too, and our little “empire” is watching us. As a wife, I need to be mindful of how I respond to my husband whether he’s right or wrong because our little “kingdom” is widely affected by my actions, too.

They look to us as an example. We do influence those around us – especially our family. I need to be prayerful and mindful of any pride rising up in me in how I treat my husband and in all of my relationships. Do I respect him? How do I respond to him? Will I contribute to the rise of my household, or to the fall of my household – here today, gone tomorrow? Because a house divided will not stand and pride crushes. Pride absolutely does come before a fall.

Prayer: God, I want to see You. I want to hear You. I want to know You and follow hard after You and the person You intended me to be when You created me. Before I even know all that entales, I say yes to You. Help me be the wife and influencer You have in Your heart for me to be. I want to be a woman after Your own heart. I want to be the person You would be if You were in my place or in my shoes. I accept it. I recieve it. I cherish it. May I live each day expecting to experience You. In Jesus name. Amen.

You Are The Blessing

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The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that The Lord was with him and that The Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of The Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So he left everything he had in Joesph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. (Genesis 39:2-5)

God was with Joseph and things went very well with him. He ended up living in the home of his Egyptian master. His master recognized that God was with him, saw that God was working for good in everything he did. He became very fond of Joseph and made him his personal aide. He put him in charge of all of his personal affairs, turning everything over to him. From that moment on, God blessed the home of the Egyptian — all because of Joseph. The blessing of God spread over everything he owned, at home and in the fields, and all Potiphar had to concern himself with was eating three meals a day. 

It’s not where you are – it’s YOU that God is blessing. God has favor on YOU.

Being in the favor of God means you’ll be blessed no matter where you are. You walk in a room you are the blessing of that room. 

There is no weak economy in Heaven. There are no droughts in heaven. There are no emergency meetings in heaven. 

In Genesis 13 we see Abram and Lot, uncle and nephew, separate. Lot chose the lush lands of the east. Abram chose the desert and prospered there.

In God’s economy, there IS prosperity in the desert.

When you walk into that job, that home, that position – it’s you that has the blessing and the favor and you bring it with you.
 
God is working through our obedience in Spiritual gifts and professional skills. And, as Joseph’s life reminds us, His purposes stretch from countryside pastures to household financial services firms, from prison administration, to the halls of political power. 

May he find us faithful where we are. Everywhere we are. 

You are the light of world. You carry the light with you. What happens when you walk into a room and flip the light on? Light always wins. No fear. 

Allow God to be the Author of your hopes and dreams —your definition of success. 

Like a drop in the water, your blessings ripple out to those around you. He will bless your work and it will bless your employer, colleagues, clients, customers, vendors, your town. He will bless you and it will bless your family, your friends, your church, your marriage. 

Think you’ve gone too far, or made too many wrong turns? 

God uses broken things. He uses crooked sticks to draw straight lines. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to produce rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever. 

We can all learn a lesson from Peter: In Matthew 14:22-33 Peter walked on water, but as soon as he took his eyes off of Jesus and onto his surroundings, he began to sink. Don’t look at your surroundings no matter how crazy they seem. Keep your eyes on the Master. He’s the source of power. He’s your confidence.

And, remember this. Don’t forget it: the credit is all His. Take less credit and more confidence in Him. It’s not who you are, it’s Whose you are. 

Prayer:
Lord, thank You for blessing us. Thank You for reminding us that your blessings go with us wherever we are and that our calling doesn’t stop at the church building. You bless us and use us wherever we are in all that we do at home and at work…..and those blessings bless others. Thank You for Your favor. May we be mindful and faithful in all we do. As we go about this next week and all the days following, may we remember to live second. May we remember why we’re here. For Your honor. For Your glory. In Jesus name. Amen.

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Resting in His Finished Work

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In Psalm 23:2 when David says, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures”—he’s saying, “My shepherd makes me lie down in His finished work.” With His own pierced hands, Jesus created a pasture for the soul. Can you imagine the satisfaction in the heart of the shepherd when, with work completed, he sees his sheep rest in the tender grass? Can you imagine the satisfaction in the heart of God when we do the same?

His pasture is His gift to us. This is not a pasture you have made. Nor is it one you deserve. It is a gift of God. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

Your Shepherd invites you to nestle deeply hidden, buried, in the tall shoots of His love—and there you will find rest.

From Traveling Light, Max Lucado

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The Real Deal

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We have an expression that says, “She’s the real deal.” What we mean when saying this is the person is really who they are appearing to be. They aren’t trying to convince you that they’re someone they’re not. It’s a compliment. It means you’re aren’t a hypocrit or trying to be someone you’re not. 

I had a situation where someone wanted to say something about someone that was out of character for the person being spoken of. I didn’t need to know the details. I knew the person. She’s the real deal

GOD did extraordinary miracles through Paul…. Acts 19:11

Paul was the real deal. GOD began using Paul in amazing ways and there arose people who saw this power who also wanted to do the same acts as Paul. The problem was they weren’t the real deal. They were trying to be someone they weren’t. They were trying to appropriate the same Power Source as Paul without ever having a relationship with the Power Source, and it nearly killed them. 

It is impossible to be the real deal without tapping into the real Power Source. The Holy Spirit is our Power Source. Do you want to experience the extraordinary with GOD? If so, tap into the real Power Source.

Gaining Intimacy With GOD

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I love the sermon we had at church this Sunday. I was so inspired because I passionately crave closeness with my Lord. I love slow dancing through my life with Him. I deeply long for intimacy with Him. It’s more valuable to me than anything else. More than everything else. 

We’re talking about less being more when it comes to gaining intimacy with GOD:

There’s a lie we’ve bought into that says: I’ll grow if I go. We believe that just going to church is all we need to do to grow. It’s great to go to church, but the point is transformation. The point is growing in Spiritual maturity. We need a crisis of transformation. Are we changing? Are we experiencing transformation? 

What we need is intimacy with GOD. This should be our goal. This is more than just going to church. We’re talking about change. You can’t come away from an up close, intimate relationship with God and be the same. Are we changing? Growing more spiritually mature? 

One way to gain intimacy with GOD is through fasting. We traditionally think of fasting as doing without something in order to pray and ask GOD for something we want. 

Fasting is where less is more. 

Fasting is voluntarily denying yourself of something in order to increase time and intimacy with GOD.

It’s denying yourself to provide yourself with this encounter with God.

We sometimes think GOD as a genie in a bottle where we ask Him for something we want and it stops there. But no. GOD wants a relationship with us. The goal of fasting should always be intimacy.

Jesus Himself fasted:

The Spirit then led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. After this fast, He was, as you can imagine, hungry. But He was also curiously stronger when the tempter came to Jesus. Matthew 4:1-3

We grow and become transformed by fasting. We gain power and strength from this intimate time spent with Daddy. It’s digging in deeper with Him. It’s what our motive should be when we fast – to gain intimacy with God. This strength helps us in dealing with the enemy’s prowling around in our lives. 

Jesus has a fundamental expectation that we are going to fast. It’s expected of us:

And WHEN you fast…. Matthew 6: 6-18 (Emphesis mine)

See that? Jesus didn’t say IF. He said WHEN. It’s expected. 

Fasting also reveals a few things for us:

1. What really controls us.

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. Romans 12:2

Beware of the way that culture shapes you. It’s difficult to see the ramifications of our own culture while we are in the midst of it. Think about the trends of our culure and how they are impacting you. Disengage so you can properly see how much. Once we let go of something, we become more aware of the hold we let it have on us. Skeptical? Try stepping away from Facebook or that online game you play and you’ll truly see it’s grip on you. 

Fasting is paradoxical. In fasting, we embrace emptiness in order to experience fullness.  When we get quiet and still, we get fullness in Him. 

2. My abuse of time. 

We’ll discover how much more time we have to seek intimacy with GOD when we disengage in order to grow more intimate with GOD. There are things we’ve allowed to use up massive amounts of time that is meant for us to spend with Him. We are wasting time. Period. 

What helps you feel close to GOD? Whatever it is, when fasting, do that because the goal in fasting is more intimacy with GOD. 

Human beings have an undeniable propensity toward become obsessed with things that ultimately have little meaning or value. We become obsessed or addicted to something that has little value. Don’t know of anything affecting you this way? Again—try doing without it to get perspective on it.

3. That more is not always better. 

We think that more is always better.  

Our biggest temptation is not the ridiculously evil–but the deceptively good. We get ourselves busy, busy, busy with more, more, more of all sorts of things that replace time of gaining more intimacy with Daddy GOD. We need less of something in order to have more of what’s most important. 

You, GOD, are my GOD, earnestly I seek for you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1

You know you’re missing something. You know there is a void in your life. Did you know that’s your soul thirsting for GOD? This world – this life IS a dry and weary land. It can’t ever quench your thirst because it’s just shifting sand. It’s dry and weary. Why? There’s nothing here that your soul is longing for. It can’t satisfy that emptiness within you. You try to fill it with many things but it doesn’t help because you live in a dry and weary land and your soul thirsts for GOD. How much sand would it take to quench your thirst? More sand just compounds thirst and you’re never satisfied. You try and quench that thirst by relationships, sex, drugs, activity, people, and working. GOD is the only thing that quenches that thirst. 

As you’ve read this, GOD has brought some things up in your heart that you need to do. Whatever GOD is speaking to you about right now, go and do it and don’t delay. If the enemy can’t get you to deny what GOD wants you to do, he will get you to delay what GOD wants you to do. 

GOD, help us to embrace emptiness in order to embrace fullness. In You. 

My pastor said it best. I love to take notes during church, but you can click here to hear this sermon directly from him with more detail. You’ll want to be sure and watch until the end because you will be so blessed by what’s there.

You can also subscribe to the feed from our church at this link, but if you’re in the area of any of the locations, drop by. You’ll be blessed. 

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Waiting to Exhale: Forgiveness = Freedom

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Hurt people hurt people

We’ve all heard it said a million times. I’ve said it a million times. It’s true, hurt people do hurt people. However, not all hurt people hurt people. The cycle can be broken. How? One word: forgiveness

Forgiveness brings freedom. Yes, hurt people hurt people but free people free people. Forgiveness isn’t always for their sake, it’s for your own freedom

As free, forgiven people we should free people. 

Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him MILLIONS OF DOLLARS He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold – along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned – to pay the debt. But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and released him and forgave his debt. (Matt 18:23-27, emphasis mine)

Authentic forgiveness is never cheap. When the owner forgives the debt, the debt didn’t just disappear. Just like us with Jesus, the master had to absorb it.  

Our moral debt was paid on the cross. 

How does this servant love differently after receiving such grace? 

But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him A FEW THOUSAND DOLLARS. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. (Matt 18:28-30, emphasis mine)

Human nature is to retaliate

Three common obstacles to forgiveness:

1) Forgiveness is not condoning. To forgive someone isn’t condoning or excusing what they did. Because Christ has forgiven me, I’m going to forgive you

2) Forgivenss is not always reconciling. There are people you need to forgive, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you will reconcile with them. There are some people you don’t need to reconcile with if they can’t be honest with what they did to you. Without truth there can’t be trust. 

3) Forgiveness is not forgetting. Just because you can’t forget doesn’t mean you aren’t forgiving. Time doesn’t heal all wounds but GOD does. When you forgive someone it doesn’t erase what they’ve done but it does erase the hurt from what they’ve done.  Forgiveness is expensive. Sometimes we don’t have the power to forgive people the way they need to be forgiven. It’s not in you on your own. You’re able to offer it because you have received it. 

Christ forgave this massive debt you had. Go and do likewise:

Be kind and compassionate to one another, FORGIVING EACH OTHER, just as in Christ God FORGAVE YOU (Ephesians 4:32, emphasis mine)

But, you cannot exhale what you haven’t inhaled. Go ahead, take a good deep breath and then let it out. Until you have inhaled that magnificent Grace and Goodness of GOD, you cannot exhale or extend that to others. Don’t hold on…just breathe and let go.

The letters of the name of God in Hebrew… are infrequently pronounced Yahweh. But in truth they are inutterable….

This word {YHWH} is the sound of breathing. In Hebrew “Yah” is an action word that means to breathe in and “Weh” means to breathe out. So God’s very name means our very inhales and exhales of our life, His name is and gives life

The holiest name in the world, the Name of Creator, is the sound of your own breathing. That these letters are unpronounceable is no accident. Just as it is no accident that they are also the root letters of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’… God’s name is name of Being itself.

Some of us have breathed in GOD, but aren’t exhaling Him into our lives.

Some of us are waiting to exhale….

Don’t hold on… Just breathe and let go.

You are the most influential person in your life and you have the power to say: “This is not how my life is going to be. I’m going to inhale the Goodness and Grace GOD has given me and exhale it to others”. 

Breathe — and call the name of Being Himself. Keep breathing — and pray without ceasing.

Don’t let the hard things in life silence you. Put it down or it will bring you down. Break the cycle and let freedom reign in your life.

Say to yourself: “GOD loves me NOW” 

“Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. ~2 Corinthians 2:14 (MSG)

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#forgiveness #freedom #choice #Yahweh #influence #hurt #hurtpeoplehurtpeople #freepeoplefreepeople #free #life #pain

{Equip} Link Up for the Best Selling 100 FREE eBooks on Faith!

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We are constantly influencing those around us. Whether our sphere of influence is a church, a Bible Study group, co-workers, our spouse, children, family, online and social media community, or a class – we owe it to those around us to equip ourselves with great tools to love and lead them well.

Leaders are readers.

I highly recommend that you arm yourself with loads of encouraging, equipping, and empowering books on faith that inspire you to stretch yourself. To help you love and lead like Jesus.

However, we don’t need to read a bunch of books about the Bible instead of actually reading the Bible. I love a quote by Charles Spurgeon: Visit many books, but live in the Bible. There’s nothing, nothing, nothing like reading God’s Word.

There are lots of tools you need to be successful in the new year and save money doing it. Yesterday I told you here about 16 free books by one of my favorite teachers, Beth Moore. There are links in that post for iPhone, iPad, Nook, Kindle, ePub, and more. That offer is only good through January 10, 2014 so be sure and hurry over to that post for all the links to grab those jewels. Don’t forget to pass on my blog link for others to enjoy.

Today I have more goodies for you:

Amazon has posted 100 BEST SELLING books on faith for FREE on Kindle.

For those of you that do not have a Kindle, don’t fret. There is a free app for Kindle in which you can download all Kindle eBooks just as someone would do on a real Kindle device. And, just because I love you…and I want you to get these books…here’s the link to grab that app

This is 100 FREE eBooks, friends! Even better – it’s 100 FREE BEST SELLERS ON FAITH! What a great big, toe tipping kiss from Daddy! I’m not sure how long this deal will be going on, so run on over with this link and get them while you can.

Don’t worry, we’ll get back to posting devotions and Bible studies here. I just had to tell you about these delicious finds and couldn’t dare keep them for myself!

(FYI: I in no way receive any money for recommending these to you. I haven’t been solicited by Amazon to tell you about it. There are no affiliate links in this post. I just love you all and want to bless you with my finds 🙂 )

#Amazon #Free #ebooks #Kindle #Christian #faith

16 FREE Beth Moore eBooks! Nook, Kindle, Android, Tablet, or Computer! Offer Ends 1/10/14

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There are loads of tools you need to be successful in the new year and save money doing it. Here’s a dynamite one for you:

Through January 10, 2014 you can get 16 of Beth Moore’s BEST-SELLING Books on Nook, Kindle, Android, Tablet, or Computer! The link to all the downloads are in this post.

If you’re not familiar with Beth Moore and you’re looking for a great read on Christian living for women, you owe it to yourself to discover one of my favorite Christian teachers.

If you’re already a fan, you know how amazing the news of these FREE books is!

God has blessed me so much through Beth’s writing and teaching in the over 24 years of ministry He’s called me to. I still remember my very first Beth Moore study. Life changing.

Don’t forget: this is only through January 10, 2014….so don’t dawdle. Be sure and quickly spread the word about this offer with female friends and family, Bible Study groups, Sunday school groups, and your church. An easy way to pass the news along is to pass along my blog post since it contains the link for all the downloads 🙂 (Thank you!)

Here are the titles and a little information on a few of them:

Praying God’s Word Day by Day

Regularly $9.99—get it for FREE

Praying God’s Word is Beth Moore’s best-selling release to date! Now the wisdom provided in her book is available to you in a convenient devotional. Learn to pray fervently and directly from Scripture with Praying God’s Word Day by Day!

Believing God Day by Day: Growing Your Faith All Year Long

Regularly $9.99—get it for FREE

Do you take God at his word, or simply believe in him? Believing God is one of Beth Moore’s best-selling books—and this latest update offers an uncomplicated day-by-day reading plan explaining how God’s plan for his believers’ lives spreads the gospel to all. Get this thought-provoking devotional and learn to develop an understanding of God’s plan for your life.

Breaking Free Day by Day: A Year of Walking in Liberty

Regularly $9.99—get it for FREE

Throw off the chains that bind you and gain power over sin and doubt. Breaking Free Day by Day empowers you to cling to the freedom found in Christ and uses the truth of God’s Word to help you identify and overcome the enemy’s strongholds in your life. This devotional packs the most powerful content from Beth Moore’s bestseller, Breaking Free, into a daily-reading format to start your day off in God’s presence.

Check out 10 other FREE Beth Moore books:

A Heart Like His
Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds
Further Still
When Godly People Do Ungodly Things: Finding Authentic Restoration in the Age of Seduction
Believing God
Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender
Feathers from My Nest
The Beloved Disciple
Things Pondered
To Live Is Christ
Jesus, the One and Only
And 2 more in Spanish! Be sure and pass these along to our Spanish speaking darlings

READY FOR THAT LINK? HERE IT IS:

Click here to go to download these books for Kindle, Nook, ePub, iBooks (iPad/iPhone), Android, Tablet, Vyrso, and computer!

Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble offer apps for those of you who don’t own a Kindle or Nook. So, if you don’t own an e-reader, fret no more!

Remember: This offer is only active through January 10, 2014

16 #FREE #BethMoore #eBooks! #Nook, #Kindle, #iPad, #Android, #Tablet, or #Computer! Offer Ends 1/10/14

Go Naked

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I love my office. It’s one of my favorite places to be. I’ve learned a lot of lessons in that office. Had many conversations with my Heavenly Daddy there. Met with and comforted lots of people in there. 

Love. It. 

I have a note pinned on my wall that says write naked. When my oldest daughter came in and saw that note for the first time she teased, “Uh, Mom, whatcha been doing in here?” I told her just to be sure and knock before coming in 🙂

But, seriously.

It’s a reminder for writers to be real, release inhibitions, and just let the creative juices flow. Don’t let anything get in the way of it. Including yourself. 

We need to do the same in every area of our lives – including and especially the things God has called us to do.

We are by nature comfort seekers. We like to do what feels good and comes easy. But all those heroes of the faith who blazed the way are cheering us on, and we need to get on with it. Let’s strip it down, throw it all off, get naked, start running and never quit.

Jesus began and finished this race we’re in. He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – and could put up with anything along the way: the Cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there. Right there in the place of honor, right alongside of God. 

Let go of all insecurities, all fear, all perceived (or real) judgments by others, all sins, whatever. Write like no one is reading. Dance like no one is around. Sing like no one is listening. Go. Do. Be who you were made to be! 

And, when you feel yourself flagging in your faith, go over Jesus’ story again, item by item: that long litany of hostility He plowed through, the bloodshed, the Cross. That will shoot adrenaline into your soul!

Anything holding you back is a parasite sucking all the nutrients  – the joy, peace, excitement, and closeness that comes from surrendering to Christ – at your expense

It isn’t helping you. It’s weighing you down. 

Odds are….you already know this. You feel it. 

RELEASE is a good word for 2014. Let go of everything that binds and RUN!

Go naked.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)

Miraculous Faith {Part 1}

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What happens when you run out of something, like milk, at your house? Most of us put it on our grocery list, so we can buy some more at the store. But what if you had no money to buy groceries? And what if you had no hope of earning any money? This was the case for a widow woman in Elisha’s day.

In 2 Kings 4:1-7, a woman came to Elisha. Her husband, one of the prophets, had died. Her husband owed money to someone, and she was unable to pay the debt. The person to whom she owed money to was going to take her children to be slaves in order to pay the debt. This woman was desperate. She came to man of God for help. And, she came to the right place.

The woman told Elisha that the only thing she owned was a little bit of oil, but it was almost gone. Elisha told her to get empty jars from all of her neighbors, and to start pouring her oil into the jars. One by one, the jars would be filled with valuable oil.

Right away, the widow woman went to her neighbors and asked for empty jars. Right away. This action proved that she believed God would perform a miracle for her.

Sure enough, the woman began to pour her last drops of oil into an empty jar, and the oil kept right on pouring! Soon the house was filled with jars that were brimming with oil! The woman could sell the oil, pay the debt, and have money to care for her children. Can you imagine the look on her sons’ faces as the oil poured and poured? God had provided; they would not become slaves!

Only God could do a thing like this. Only God can create something out of nothing (Genesis 1:1), or fill an empty jar with oil. The Lord loves His people, and He is happy to take care of their needs (Matthew 7:11).

Look at the birds of the air. They don’t plant or gather crops. They don’t put away crops in storerooms. But your Father who is in heaven feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? – Matthew 6:26

Every person is important to God. You are important to God! He delights over you, and He wants to provide everything you need (Zephaniah 3:17)

Our God is a God of miracles! Our God is a God of abundant provisions! Our God is a God of the unimaginable!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, (Ephesians 3:20 NIV84)

Just like this woman, we had a debt that we couldn’t pay. She was powerless. We were powerless, too. Miraculous provision came from heaven down to earth in Jesus. HE is our miraculous provision.

2 Kings 4:1-7:
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”

Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”
But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”

Two Steps To Begin Using Influence Wisely

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Influence.

We all have it. We are impacting those around us all the time. This is a great thing when we learn to use the influence God has given us wisely. We start by learning the art of speaking and listening with these two steps:

1. We must listen in such a way that others love to speak to us.

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue..(James 1:19-21 MSG


How significant is listening? Listening is the fullness of hearing. It is possible to hear someone talk and not listen. In order to hear and listen, one must be paying attention. It’s so unnerving to talk to someone who isn’t listening. It quickly turns people off and turns them away. People love to talk to good listeners. James 1:19 in the NIV version says it this way: My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Don’t make snap judgements. Don’t assume. First, listen well.

The world is in need of a Savior and there is only One. We must carry the Gospel message out to the world. We must hear those who are asking for help, we must listen to them to give them what they need. You have the Source of help. Are you listening?

2. We must speak in such a way that others love to listen to us.

She opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26 HCSB

Her words are wise, gentle, and dripping with love. Wise words (not a smart mouth), spoken and motivated by the greatest gift of all (Love) is exactly the way Christ teaches us. The best way to do that is through compassion. If we first place ourselves in their shoes for a moment and think of all the ways God is loving and patient with us, how could we be any less with others? After all, it is only by the grace of God that we aren’t struggling in their area……. or that we once were and are no more.

God drove this truth home for me this week in a big way. Let’s word that in another way: God taught me a lesson this week. I was in the middle of several sticky situations and with some people who were dropping the ball in a big way. I was tempted to lose patience with them when I got that Holy tap on the shoulder that reminded me: God meets us ALL where we are. These people aren’t mature enough to handle this well, but they could be one day. Teach. Don’t preach. Once I walked that out, things ran more smoothly, and they walked away encouraged.

She delights to talk of the Word of God and does so motivated by love: the greatest gift. She is careful in WHAT she says and HOW she says it. 

How, when, what, and to whom I speak matters. Truth spoken in the wrong spirit of things can repel people AWAY from God rather than TO Him. Remember Job’s friends? This is where they went wrong. Overwhelmed and in agony with all he was suffering, Job was not comforted but rather condemned by his friends. While there were elements of truth in some of what they said, it was based on wrong assumptions. We must be careful of what we assume to be true in the lives of others. Be very careful of making snap judgments (I know I’ve made this point twice. It’s double important!)

The influence God has gifted us with should always be one that praises God and builds up people for His Kingdom.

POINTS TO PONDER: Influence is a gift. Am I faithful with my influence with those around me? Is my influence being used for HIS glory? Who am I being influenced by? Am I careful in what I say and how I say it…..when I say it, and to whom? Am I speaking words into people’s lives that are wise, gentle, and dripping with Love? Am I also doing this with my family?

May we all listen in such a way that others love to speak to us, and speak in such a way that others love to listen to us. May we be an influence on all those around us as our Jesus is. Let’s make an impact for HIM. Let’s make much of Jesus.

Advent: It Is Finished

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Today is the first Sunday of Advent. The word “advent” means arrival. The Advent we celebrate is not just any arrival. We celebrate THE Arrival: Jesus.

This is the Advent: the coming of hope to the hopeless, the arrival of peace to war-torn exiles, and the long-awaited freedom for generation after generation.

It’s the elaborate yet stunningly simple plan of God to come to His children, to become like them in the most unexpected, unglamorous, fully human way: a Babe in a manger….born of a virgin.

It’s the beginning of a great ransom story. And you’re in it.

Our ransom story begins way back at the beginning. Way back to the fall in the Garden of Eden:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:1-15 NIV)

“No sooner was the wound given than the remedy was provided and revealed” -Matthew Henry

God’s rescue plan started right then. He couldn’t leave us there. His weapon of choice: Grace. He would use Grace to draw us back to Him in the form of His Son. A Messiah. A Savior. Emmanuel: God With Us.

Yes, the evil one would strike His heel. Jesus would experience real suffering with real blood, sweat and tears. But, Jesus would have the last word. When He cried out, “It is finished!” the serpent’s head would receive the final, fatal blow.

This is how He would become God With Us. Once His work is done….once you and I accept Him as Lord and Savior…..we will never be separated from Him again. God.With.Us.

In this Holiday season, I pray you all are keeping your devotion time going. Often we put them aside when we’re busy, but that’s when we need them the most. When we’re distracted and busy we are a prime target for the enemy. And this Holiday is about Christ anyway, right? Let’s keep our focus and the flame of our love affair with Him burning brightly. Do an Advent study/Devotion this season and worship Him. Grow deeper and closer to our Savior.

You’ll find keeping Christ in Christmas will help your busy Holiday time go much better! Also important: We see a lot of people this time of year that we don’t see regularly….as well as stores packed full of strangers. What a prime opportunity to share Christ and His Gospel. Remember why you’re here in the first place 😊

Hebrews: The Nearness of King Jesus

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I’m such a Bible geek. I love studying scripture. Can’t get enough. I never tire of reading the Bible; it’s the Lord’s love letter to His children.

Another thing I love is telling others about resources that honor GOD and help us all grow.

Lisa Harper has a study coming out that I’m excited about. In fact, I’m on the launch team and I want to share the just released trailer introducing you to Hebrews: The Nearness of King Jesus

Here’s the description Lisa Harper’s Hebrews: The Nearness of King Jesus study:

Join Lisa Harper as she journeys through this bridge between the Old and New Testaments to get into the heart of the matter: Jesus is our accessible King. He is not a far away God, but and up-close Redeemer who draws near to us.

The trailer and description reminded me of the post I wrote this week entitled Made For Heights. God has equipped His people to scale the heights even in the midst of great challenges. He enables us to go to the higher places with Him.

The Sovereign Lord is our strength. He enables us to go on the heights (Habakkuk 3:19)

Read the rest of that post here

The fact that Jesus is near is a theme here on my site. He’s close. He’s crazy-head-over-heels-stalkerlike in love with us! His mind is costumed with us. He is ever working at getting closer to us. He is for us and wants more than anything to have a close, thriving, passionate relationship with us. This is why He gave up His life! He definitely, absolutely is NOT a far away God.

Being on this launch team fit me like a glove. I’m excited. I’m pumped. I’m drooling at the mouth to dig into this study and dance skin to skin with my Jesus. No “four inch rule” for us. No, we are dancing tight and up-close!

Keep an eye out. I’ll definitely be filling you in more so we can all dance with our King Jesus.

In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the new trailer we just released here and follow all the buzz on social media using the hashtag #NearJesus

Slow dancing with Jesus,
Christy

Made For Heights

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The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights” Habakkuk 3:19


The book of Habakkuk inspired Martin Luther’s reformation and the book “Hinds Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hunnard. Habakkuk encourages us to question what God is doing in our lives. When we are thrown into suffering for a period of time, or our enemies are prospering while we are just barely getting by, we wonder about the equity of God and life. Habakkuk affirms that God is God and we are made to scale the mountains of adversity. We just need to be still and know He is at work. He is who He says He is and does keep His promises.

God equips His people to scale the heights even in the midst of great challenges. He enables us to go to the higher places with Him where we are set apart from the world. Sometimes the way we have to go to get us there is through suffering and sorrow, but if we rest in Him and trust Him we come out where He wants us.

When Jesus told the disciples He was going to send the Holy Spirit to them, it was in order for them to scale the mountain before them with a new form of power they had not experienced.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8)


If you find yourself in a place of doubting God and His plan for your life, know that this is a normal aspect of your journey in God. However, know that God has made available His Holy Spirit in order for you to accomplish the tasks that lie ahead.

Ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to achieve the heights for which He has created you.

~Today God Is First~

Weigh Your Decisions

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The sermon this week was teaching on fear. Specifically on fear of failure. It made me remember some notes that I made a few weeks ago and I wanted to share all of this with you. Because, dear friends, fear can cripple you. Fear can stop you in your tracks. Fear can corrode our confidence in God’s goodness. What you fear tells you where you trust God the least. Did you catch that? Chew on that a minute.

Fear can rob you of your joy of living…..

….If you let it.

Fear lies. 

Don’t believe anything fear says to you. Ever. It’s a trap to keep you frozen and ineffective for the Kingdom. It’s that simple. And it’s that complicated.

Fear always bugs us with those crazy “what if” questions.. What if I fail? What if I mess up? And baaad? What if I’m not enough? What if…what if….what if…..(insert your version here)?

Fear asks who will be watching when I fail? Who’s watching…that’s the big one. The possibility of someone seeing us fail is what we fear most of all because, whether we admit it or not, we have a deep need of the approval of those around us. We aren’t as fearful of failure if others won’t know about it, right? Even bigger than our fear of failure is the fear of who will SEE us fail, don’t you think?

It’s true that you may mess up. In case you didn’t know, let me tell you something: everyone messes up sometime or other. No one is perfect at everything. But that failure isn’t final, and the labels people give you don’t matter. The world will always try to tell you that you’re less than who He says you are.

Always.

And, hey, since we all know that, why measure ourselves by the world and it’s standards anyway? Why claim those labels? Why? Why? Why?

We shouldn’t. 

We don’t have to.

So let’s stop that. Deal? And while we’re asking all these questions, let me ask you another one: what if you don’t fail? What if you actually go out there and rock it? That’s a way bigger risk! That is just not worth passing by.

Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world

Find out what pleases God and do it (Ephesians 5:17). Why? Because He is the ultimate Master you’re serving. He is the One from whom all blessings flow. He is the One who is madly in love with you and thinks you’re to die for…..and proved it. 

We don’t overcome fear by being passive. We overcome fear by attacking it. We overcome fear by the victory King Jesus has already won. We put on our Ephesians 6 armor and do as Jesus did….we remember, BELIEVE, speak, and claim the promises of God. We remember that we are the child of the one true King. THAT’S who you are. THAT’S your name. Believe it.

The next time the enemy tries to remind you of your past…..remind him of his future! 

We Belong To Him {there’s a great joy and peace in that}

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Know that the Lord is God— he made us; we belong to him. We are his people, the sheep of his own pasture ~Psalms 100:3

Shepherds played an important role in the world of Israel. Their work was to find grass and water for the sheep and to protect them from wild animals and tend to their sickness and wounds. It required them to spend long hours exposed to the natural elements. It was not and easy life.

It was to the shepherds the angels first announced the birth of Jesus. This was especially appropriate since Jesus’ famous ancestor, David, had centuries earlier watched the family’s sheep in those same fields near Bethlehem.

It also reminds us that the coming of Jesus is good news for all people, not just those already privileged by wealth and power.

The important role of the shepherd is used often in the New Testament to teach us about Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd who gives His life for His sheep (John 10:1-18).

Psalm 100 is and invitation to enter joyfully into God’s presence. He is faithful and extends that faithfulness to us and beyond our generation forever.

He is ours and we are His.

God is all-knowing and ever present. He is beautiful and desirable. He is Creator. He is good and generous, great and sovereign. Holy, loving, and faithful. He is merciful, forgiving, and powerful. Ready and willing to reveal His will, law, and direction. He is righteous and just, and His Spirit is sweet.

And, He says to us:

I am your God and your are my sheep.

This. This makes me stand to my feet and applaud God. To bring a gift of laughter, and sing myself into His presence. For I know this: Jesus is my LORD. He made us….we didn’t make Him. We are His people, His well-tended sheep. I enter His presence and say THANK YOU! I make myself right at home with Him, and praise Him the whole time.

Thank Him. Worship Him. For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal and always and ever.

Psalm 100 (The Message)

I’m Not Ready!

Today God is first….

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“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'” 2 Cor 12:9

If there is one thing that is consistent throughout scripture, it is this: God calls people when they are not ready. God will never call you into service when you think you are ready. This is intentional on God’s part.

And, you can be sure when God calls you, you will have similar responses as Saul did when he was called to be the first king, or Gideon, when he was called to take down the idols in his nation, or Moses, when he was called to deliver his people from Egypt.

Saul answered, “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?” (1 Sam 9:21).

“But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (Judg 6:15).

But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Ex 3:11).

When God calls, you will most likely be in the most unlikely circumstances to receive that call. You will be in the midst of a crisis, you will lack resources, you will not have the skills you think you need. This too is the way of God.

God does this because He wants you to know your call is only based on His ability, not yours. When you think it is based on you, this is a false humility. And, it is unbelief and disobedience on your part.

Has God called you to something you have failed to do because you felt you were not ready? Repent before the Lord and let God accomplish great things through you.

Work and Worship

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Today God Is First

“One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike” Rom 14:5

Avodah (Ah´-voe-dah) is a Hebrew noun used in the Bible that has two distinct yet intertwined meanings: worship and work. It is also derived from the Hebrew verb L’Avod which has two meanings; to work and also to worship. The dual meaning offers powerful wisdom for modern times for how we are to view our work lives.

Work, if done with and unto God, is a form of worship in the biblical Hebrew context. There has never been a concept of segmenting our work from our faith life in the Bible. It is in the realm of the sacred to bring God into our everyday life. Hebrews did not set aside a “day of worship,” such as Saturday or Sunday, but everyday is a place and time of worship. They did set aside a Sabbath day of rest.

It is a western idea to segment one’s faith life from our work like. In the Middle East and Asia, their cultures would never separate their faith from their work life even though their faith foundations might clearly contradict Christian beliefs. When someone comes to faith in Christ from this area of the world, they have an easier time of assimilating their faith into their work because they have always done so.

God calls us to do our work as an act of worship to Him. Our work is not to be a place of sweat and toil, but an expression of our love, faith and adoration of Jesus Christ. Today, before you work, ask God to help you see your work in a new way–as worship to Him.

God Uses the Unlikely and the Unexpected

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God uses unexpected people to spread His message. We have our own preconceived ideas of who is worthy, but God doesn’t play by our rules. I’m glad. He’s a much better leader and coach than we are. I’ll let Him call the plays. 

Let’s look at John 4:4-47

On His way home from Jerusalem, Jesus stopped in Samaria—an area most Jewish people avoided. Jesus didn’t have any concern for the prejudices of people around Him. Instead, He chose to minister to everyone who was willing to recognize Him for who He really was. 

We don’t know much about the woman at the well. Her villiage knew who she was. They knew she was woman not to be trusted or a woman to be admired. But, when she met Jesus she knew her villiage needed to meet Him too. Telling her villiage was not up for debate or a choice; meeting Jesus was not a story that could be contained. So despite the risk, despite the ridicule she knew could come, she ran to the villiage and told them the story about how she met a man who knew everything about her. 

Her villiage was never the same. 

GOD used and unexpected woman to impact her whole Villiage with her story. She was repurposed. Her story ended differently than it began. Hallelujah!

Because It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish…

GOD used the story of a divorced, relationally plagued woman to move the hearts of a whole town. One woman’s story brought the whole town to Jesus. This was the tool that GOD used to bring His message to a lost world. 

Maybe you feel like the woman at the well. Maybe you have done some terrible things. Sexual sins. Bad relationships. Things you’ve said. Bad habits you can’t kick. God still wants to use you. He wants you to get in the game. He wants to work through you. 

None of us were created to sit in the stands. We all need to get out of the stands, off the bench and into the game. 

What is your circle of influence? If you had been at that well, and you had immediately left to go back to your circle of influence, your network, where would you have gone? Your family? Your school? The sport team you play on? Your neighborhood? What circle of influence has GOD put you into? Where has He planted you? 

Where did God find you?

Where did He take you?

Whatever your story, it’s not a story to be contained. You must reach out wherever God has you….EVERYWHERE that God has you…and tell the story of Jesus.

My life is not my own. I belong to him as well as all that encompasses my life. I am sealed. Repurposed. I must go and tell about a man who knows everything about me…….

Life On The Edge

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Around 1406 B.C. God brought His people to the edge of the land He had promised to their ancestors, and Moses handed leadership of the nation over to Joshua. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, finally the people of God were ready to realize the promise of living in the land of Canaan. All they needed to do is to obey and trust Him in order to take possession of the land. In other words, trust Daddy and do what He says. 

What is your edge? God spoke something to you a while ago. For some, a long while ago. Is It to begin teaching a Sunday School class? A small group? Or maybe it’s a big step in changing a lot of things in your life. Maybe it’s a little step. Maybe it’s to finally begin leading your family in the Way they should go. Is it to say yes to that mission trip? What promise is God calling you to realize in your life? 

Some of you are right there on the edge. It’s time. You can see it. You can feel it. The only thing standing in the way is you putting your trust in Daddy God and obeying what He tells you to do. 

It’s time for you to take that step. Take possession of that promise. Don’t worry, if God brings you to it, He WILL bring you through it.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study the Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all that you do. This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9

See: Joshua 1-6

In a World Gone Wrong, Take a Lesson From Noah

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A world gone wrong, earth was no longer the perfect paradise that God had intended when we get to the story of Noah. It’s frightening to see how quickly all of humanity forgot about God. I count 8 short generations from Adam!

The story of Noah’s life involves not one but two great and tragic floods. The world in his day was flooded with evil. The number of those who remembered the God of creation, perfection, and love had dwindled to ONE. Incredibly, in ALL the world, only Noah and his family still worshiped God.

I’ve had times of being alone in taking a stand for God. And, I’ve had times when I just “felt” alone too. But, to really be the ONLY family on the planet who worshiped God!? Whoa.

GOD’s response to the situation was a 120-year-long last chance, during which He had Noah build a graphic illustration of his life. Nothing like a huge boat on dry land to make a point! Because of his faithfulness and obedience, God saved him and his family from a vast flood that destroyed every other human being on earth.

For Noah, obedience meant a long-term commitment to a project. Many of us have trouble sticking to any project, whether or not it’s directed by GOD. It’s interesting that the length of Noah’s obedience was greater than the life span of people today. The only comparable long-term project for us is our very lives. But, perhaps this is the one great challenge Noah’s life gives us—–to live, in acceptance of GOD’s grace, an entire lifetime of obedience and gratitude.

Read the story of Noah, the flood, and the new beginning for humanity starting in Genesis Chapter 6

Is it ok to feel good about your accomplishments?

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Then God looked over all He had made, and he saw that it was very good! Genesis 1:31


GOD saw that His work was good.

We can sometimes feel guilty for feeling good about an accomplishment. This need not be so. Just as GOD felt good about His work, we can too…..when it is well done and God is pleased with it.

What are you doing that pleases both God and you?

Creation: A Love Story

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The book of Genesis begins with “God created the heavens and the earth” The world—and you—are not products of blind chance and probability; God created it and us. They are here. We are here. God created all that we see and experience. Here we begin the most exciting and fulfilling journey imaginable.

God did not NEED to create the universe. He CHOSE to create it. Why? Love. God is love and love is best expressed toward something or someone else. So, God created the world and people as an expression of His love.

We can know in a very personal way this God who created the universe. God’s deepest desire is to relate to you. To have fellowship with you, His creation. He took the ultimate first step in this relationship with us through His visit to this planet in the person of His Son, Jesus. Now, it’s your turn. It’s your move.

How do you grow closer to understanding and hearing from God? By giving heed to His gentle checks, His delicate restraints and constraints. His voice is still and small and must be felt.

God is love and His voice is for the ear of love. And, your love should be intent on hearing even the smallest of whispers.

You know…those times in conversation when you’re just about to say a word, and you feel that gentle nudge. And, those moments when you’re about to pursue something that seems clear and right and there comes a quiet suggestion that another way is better.

It’s a voice quietly spoken in your heart at first but the more you listen and obey, it grows louder and clearer.

If you want to know Him better take heed to His voice even when is seems contradictory from a human standpoint. Obey even when He asks you to move in the dark. When you do, you will experience a fellowship with God that is wildly overpowering, wonderfully overwhelming, and more than you could ever imagine. A relationship that will hold you and He closely together even in the most severe testings and pressures.

 

Remember: You are part of creation, and He is pleased with how He made you. If at times you feel worthless, remember that God made you for a good reason. You.Are.Valuable.To.Him.

 

See: Genesis 1: 1- 2:3; Isaiah 30:21; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 3:20

 

Public Relations 101: the spiritual battle

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As we look at Luke 20:1-8, we see Jesus rocking it out at public relations as He always did. It’s Passion week at this point. Jesus has already made His triumphal entry at the end of Chapter 19. The air is thick with praise. The universe seemed ready to burst any minute with praise and worship over King Jesus.

Ever felt that way in worship? Like you’re just going to explode right on the spot with worship and you’ve just got to get it out? Jesus said if the people stopped their worship, the very stones would cry out! He is worthy and He will be praised, but, a rock isn’t going to have to take my place at worship. I love Him, and my praise will be done by me, amen and thank you very much. Lord Jesus, may I never miss and opportunity to tell You just how beautiful You are…

As He approached and saw the city of Jerusalem, He wept for her. I know something of the deep sadness that comes over you when you see someone who just can’t see what’s there as they reject what GOD has for their life; choosing a destructive way of life instead. Heartbreaking. I want everyone to know my Jesus and how it feels to be close to Him. It’s breathtaking.

Jesus went right to work. He was there for a reason, and He stayed on the planned path. First things first. He cleaned house. Ever felt like that? I know I have come home and seen a hot mess going on and had enough and I “cleaned house” like a banche….saying, I.have.had.enough.of.this. This party is o v e r. Jesus went into the temple and saw these people desecrating it by using it to make a profit. He threw them out! He is not playing around with this glory stuff. It’s Daddy’s house, and His glory. Done and done.

Lord, I pray there has never been (and never will be) a time that I have perverted your call on my life by profiting from it. I never want to be thrown out from Your presence. There are so many ways to do that. Ever seen GOD do something powerful and took the credit? Ever wanted to make a name for yourself, all in the name of working for The Lord? Ever tried to manipulate things so that someone sees you do what you did for The Lord and His people? And get mad when you think someone is doing a better job than you, or getting more attention than you…..all in the name of “serving The Lord”? Ever tried to manipulate a situation to make your life easier….on that committee?

Ever been led by fear that someone is trying to take your place and begin trying to discredit them?

That’s what the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders (a.k.a. the Sanhedrin) were trying to do. Jesus caught them sleeping on the job by allowing those things to take place in the temple. They were embarrassed and angry. They wanted to destroy Him. So, they did what any good committee would do: they marched themselves in and disrupted things. They made a scene. You know they were puffed up thinking they had Him right where they wanted Him because of the way they busted right in on that crowd and questioned His authority to throw the merchants out of the temple. They didn’t really care about the answer, they just wanted to arrogantly debate. Ever known someone like that…..who doesn’t really care one way or the other, they just want to fight?

As He often did, Jesus turned the attention back on them. Finding themselves in a no-win situation, they said they didn’t know the answer. Having caught His opponents in a trap made by their own hands, Jesus also refused to answer their question. What a genius!

What is our response to criticism and opposition? Do we anticipate it as the Bible says we should? Do we act as Jesus did? He remained calm and always addressed what was at the heart of the opposition instead of the behavior itself. He remained on the task of completing the mission here on earth.

When we are truly following Jesus, people will question our motives, attack our character, and ridicule the authority we have been given by GOD to serve Him and change lives here on earth. We need to do what Jesus did. We need to mimic Him through our patience, professing the Word of GOD, and stay committed to the task GOD gave us. We don’t need to get caught up and distracted by the emotions. I mean, that’s the real plan anyway….to get us distracted from what GOD has for us. It’s all a spiritual battle. All of it.


Let’s all just stay on task. Let’s live, lead, and love like Jesus, ok?